Woody Allen

On this date in 1935, director Woody Allen (né Allen Stewart Konigsberg), was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. His Jewish parents sent him to eight years of Hebrew school. "I am a Jew only in the sense that I was born into a Jewish family. I have no interest in the organized religions beyond a certain cerebral historical curiosity. They are all nonsense to me in their basic premises. . . . I'm agnostic, but I have one foot in atheism." (Interview by Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian Weekend, March 29, 1997, cited in Who's Who in Hell, edited by Warren Allen Smith.) He began selling gags to an agency serving newspaper columnists as a teenager. By 16, he was writing for Sid Caesar, and had started to call himself "Woody Allen." He briefly attended New York University, but dropped out to write scripts for television, such as the Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. Allen won his first Emmy in 1957. He did stand-up comedy, then returned to writing, working for a time for "The Candid Camera." He wrote his first film, "What's New, Pussycat" in 1965, and directed his first film, "What's Up, Tiger Lily," in 1966. His first onscreen acting appearance was a bit part in the James Bond film, "Casino Royale" (1967). He began to write and direct a series of comic movies: "Take the Money and Run" (1969), "Bananas" (1971), "Play It Again, Sam" (1972), "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask" (1972), "Sleeper" (1973), "Annie Hall" (1977), which won 4 Academy Awards, "Manhattan" (1979), "Stardust Memories" (1980), "Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy" (1982), and "Celebrity" (1998). His serious films include "Interiors" (1978), "Hannah & Her Sisters" (1986) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989). The autobiographical "Stardust Memories" contains an Allen character who quips, "To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition." In his book, Without Feathers (1975), Allen wrote: "How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?"

“Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.”

—Woody Allen, "My Philosophy," The New Yorker, Dec. 27, 1969 "

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo by Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

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