Red-Carpet Exclusive Portraits: Woody Allen for ‘Café Society’

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CHICAGO – He is one of the most prolific American directors of the modern cinema era, and has also forged a career as stand-up comedian, actor, playwright and screenplay artist. He is Woody Allen, and he walked the Red Carpet at the Chicago History Museum on July 21st, 2016, for his new film ‘Café Society.’

The film is his 47th feature film as writer/director, from “What’s Up, Tiger Lily” (1966) to the present day, and highlights Allen’s strengths as an artist. “Café Society” is filled with romance, heartbreak and the glamour of 1930s Hollywood, and features Steve Carrell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Corey Stoll and Parker Posey. It is schedule for nationwide release on July 29th, 2016

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Woody Allen’s Latest Film is ‘Café Society, Releasing Nationwide on July 29th, 2016
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Woody Allen was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, New York, in 1935. While in high school, and during brief college stints at New York University and the City College of New York, he wrote gags for newspaper columnists in Manhattan. He legally changed his name to Heywood Allen when he was 17 years old, and shortened it to Woody Allen once his jokes appeared in he newspaper.

Through that media, the writer Abe Burrows (“Guys and Dolls”) introduced him into a writing development program at the CBS Network when he was 20 years old, and soon he was writing for [Sid] “Caesar’s Hour,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Candid Camera,” and comedian Bob Hope, whose “character” was the inspiration for Allen’s later “cowardly courageous” persona. Allen estimated that by 1962 he had written 20,000 jokes for other sources.

The next phase of his career involved stand-up comedy, and he played the New York City venues, and was “discovered” at a Greenwich Village club called “The Bitter End.” His stand-up style was low-key and conversational, coming from life experiences, without schtick or ethnicity (Allen is Jewish). His act led to TV appearances on “The Tonight Show” and other ventures, which led to his playwrighting and film directing part of his life course.

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Woody Allen on the Red Carpet at the Chicago History Museum on July 21st, 2016
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

His film debut was as screenwriter and actor, for the comedy “What’s New Pussycat?” (1965). One year later, his first directorial effort (which he also co-wrote) was an off-beat film comedy called “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” – in which he hilariously re-dubbed into English a James Bond-like Japanese film. At the same time, his stage plays “Don’t Drink the Water” (1966), “Play It Again, Sam” (1969) and “The Floating Light Blub” (1969) were on Broadway.

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