Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, playwright, and musician whose career spans over half a century. He began as a comedy writer in the 1950s, penning jokes and scripts for television and also publishing several books of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, Allen started performing as a stand-up comic, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes. As a comic, he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he insists is quite different from his real-life personality. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics, while a UK survey ranked Allen as the third greatest comedian. By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into more dramatic material influenced by European art films during the 1970s.
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