Woody Allen Net Worth & Biography

By Mixxerly UPDATED: NOVEMBER 28, 2021

Find out how much money does Woody Allen make monthly and yearly? How much is Woody Allen's net worth?

Introduction

NET WORTH
$150M

Woody Allen (Allan Stewart Konigsberg) is an American film director, writer, actor, comedian, and musician, whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award-winning films. He began his career as a comedy writer on Sid Caesar's comedy variety program Your Show of Shows, working alongside Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart and Neil Simon. He also began writing material for television, published several books featuring short stories, and writing humor pieces for The New Yorker. As of , Woody Allen's estimated net worth is at least $150M.

In the early 1960s, he performed as a stand-up comedian in Greenwich Village alongside Lenny Bruce, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, and Joan Rivers. There he developed a monologue style (rather than traditional jokes), and the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish. He released three comedy albums during the mid to late 1960s, earning a Grammy Award nomination for his 1964 comedy album entitled simply, Woody Allen. In 2004 Comedy Central ranked Allen fourth on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, while a UK survey ranked Allen the third-greatest comedian.

Net Worth

By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies such as Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), Sleeper (1973), and Love and Death (1975), before moving into dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the late 1970s with Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979) and Stardust Memories (1980), and alternating between comedies and dramas to the present. Allen is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late 1970s such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Sidney Lumet. As of , Woody Allen's estimated net worth is at least $150M.

Favorite Quotes from Woody Allen

“I feel humor is important for those two reasons: that it is a little bit of refreshment like music, and that women have told me over the years that it is very, very important to them.” – Woody Allen
“Life is horrible, but it is not relentlessly black from wire to wire. You can sit down and hear a Mozart symphony, or you can watch the Marx Brothers, and this will give you a pleasant escape for a while. And that is about the best that you can do.” – Woody Allen
“I can’t with any conscience argue for New York with anyone. It’s like Calcutta. But I love the city in an emotional, irrational way, like loving your mother or your father even though they’re a drunk or a thief. I’ve loved the city my whole life – to me, it’s like a great woman.” – Woody Allen
“In the shower, with the hot water coming down, you’ve left the real world behind, and very frequently things open up for you. It’s the change of venue, the unblocking the attempt to force the ideas that are crippling you when you’re trying to write.” – Woody Allen
“Everybody knows how awful the world is and each person distorts it in a certain way that enables him to get through. Some people distort it with religious things, others with sports, money, love, art, and they all have their own nonsense about what makes it meaningful, and all but nothing makes it meaningful. These things definitely serve a certain function, but in the end, they all fail to give life meaning and everyone goes to his grave in a meaningless way.” – Woody Allen

Early life

Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg at Mount Eden Hospital in the Bronx, New York City, on December 1, 1935. He is Jewish. He and his sister, future film producer Letty (born 1943), were raised in Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood. He is the son of Nettie (née Cherry; November 8, 1906 – January 27, 2002), a bookkeeper at her family's delicatessen, and Martin Konigsberg (December 25, 1900 – January 8, 2001), a jewelry engraver and waiter. His grandparents were immigrants to the U.S. from Austria and the Lithuanian city of Panevėžys. They spoke German, Hebrew and Yiddish. Both of Allen's parents were born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Allen's childhood was not particularly happy; his parents did not get along and he had an estranged relationship with his authoritarian, ill-tempered mother. He later joked that he was often sent to inter-faith summer camps when he was young. While attending Hebrew school for eight years, he went to Public School 99 (now the Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature) and Midwood High School, graduating in 1953. Unlike his comic persona, he was more interested in baseball than school and his strong arm ensured he was picked first for teams. He impressed students with his talent for cards and magic tricks.

Allen wrote jokes (or "gags") for agent David O. Alber to make money, and Alber sold them to newspaper columnists. At age 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen and later began to call himself Woody. According to Allen, his first published joke read: "Woody Allen says he ate at a restaurant that had O.P.S. prices—over people's salaries." He was soon earning more than both of his parents combined. After high school, he attended New York University, studying communication and film in 1953, before dropping out after failing the course "Motion Picture Production". He studied film at City College of New York in 1954, but left during the first semester. He taught himself rather than studying in the classroom. He later taught at The New School and studied with writing teacher Lajos Egri.

Career

Allen began writing short jokes when he was 15, and the following year began sending them to various Broadway writers to see if they'd be interested in buying any. He also began going by the name "Woody Allen".:539 One of those writers was Abe Burrows, coauthor of Guys and Dolls, who wrote, "Wow! His stuff was dazzling." Burrows then wrote Allen letters of introduction to Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, and Peter Lind Hayes, who immediately sent Allen a check for just the jokes Burrows included as samples.

As a result of the jokes Allen mailed to various writers, he was invited, then age 19, to join the NBC Writer's Development Program in 1955, followed by a job on The NBC Comedy Hour in Los Angeles. He was later hired as a full-time writer for humorist Herb Shriner, initially earning $25 a week. He began writing scripts for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, specials for Sid Caesar post-Caesar's Hour (1954–1957), and other television shows.p.111 By the time he was working for Caesar, he was earning $1,500 a week.

He worked alongside Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, and Neil Simon. He also worked with Danny Simon, whom Allen credits for helping form his writing style. In 1962 alone he estimated that he wrote twenty thousand jokes for various comics.:533 Allen also wrote for the Candid Camera television show, and appeared in some episodes.

He wrote jokes for the Buddy Hackett sitcom Stanley and for The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, and in 1958 he co-wrote a few Sid Caesar specials with Larry Gelbart.:542 After writing for many of television's leading comedians and comedy shows, Allen was gaining a reputation as a "genius", composer Mary Rodgers said. When given an assignment for a show he would leave and come back the next day with "reams of paper", according to producer Max Liebman.:542 Similarly, after he wrote for Bob Hope, Hope called him "half a genius".

Allen started writing short stories and cartoon captions for magazines such as The New Yorker; he was inspired by the tradition of New Yorker humorists S. J. Perelman, George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley, and Max Shulman, whose material he modernized. His collections of short pieces includes Getting Even, Without Feathers, Side Effects, and Mere Anarchy. His early comic fiction was influenced by the zany, pun-ridden humor of S.J. Perelman. In 2010 Allen released audio versions of his books in which he read 73 selections entitled, The Woody Allen Collection. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.

From 1960 to 1969 Allen performed as a comedian to supplement his comedy writing. He worked in various places around Greenwich Village, including The Bitter End and Cafe Au Go Go, alongside such contemporaries as Lenny Bruce, the team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Dick Cavett, Bill Cosby and Mort Sahl (his personal favorite), as well as such other artists of the day as Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand. Comedy historian Gerald Nachman writes that Allen, while not the first to do standup, eventually had greater impact than all the others in the 1960s, and redefined standup comedy: "He helped turn it into biting, brutally honest satirical commentary on the cultural and psychological tenor of the times."

After Allen was taken under the wing of his new manager, Jack Rollins, who had recently discovered Nichols and May, Rollins suggested he perform his written jokes as a stand-up. Allen was resistant at first, but after seeing Mort Sahl on stage, he felt safer to give it a try: "I'd never had the nerve to talk about it before. Then Mort Sahl came along with a whole new style of humor, opening up vistas for people like me.":545 Allen made his professional stage debut at the Blue Angel nightclub in Manhattan in October 1960, where comedian Shelley Berman introduced him as a young television writer who would perform his own material.

His early stand-up shows with his different style of humor were not always well received or understood by his audiences. Unlike other comedians, Allen spoke to his audiences in a gentle and conversational style, often appearing to be searching for words, although he was well rehearsed. He acted "normal", dressed casually, and made no attempt to project a stage "personality". And he did not improvise: "I put very little premium on improvisation," he told Studs Terkel.:532 His jokes were created from life experiences, and typically presented with a dead serious demeanor that made them funnier: "I don't think my family liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib."

The subjects of his jokes were rarely topical, political or socially relevant. Unlike Bruce and Sahl, he did not discuss current events such as civil rights, women's rights, the Cold War, or Vietnam. And although he was described as a "classic nebbish", he did not tell the standard Jewish jokes of the period. Comedy screenwriter Larry Gelbart compared Allen's style to Elaine May's: "He just styled himself completely after her".:546 Like Nichols and May, he often made fun of intellectuals.

In 1965 Allen filmed a half-hour standup special in England for Granada Television, titled The Woody Allen Show in the U.K. and Woody Allen: Standup Comic in the U.S. It is the only complete standup show of Allen's on film. The same year, Allen along with Nichols and May, Barbara Streisand, Carol Channing, Harry Belafonte, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, and Alfred Hitchcock took part in Lyndon B. Johnson’s inaugural gala in Washington, D.C., on January 18, 1965. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson described Allen and the event in her published diary, A White House Diary, writing in part, "Woody Allen, that forlorn, undernourished little comedian, stopped shooting a movie in Paris and flew across the Atlantic for about five minutes of jokes".

In 1967 Allen hosted a TV special for NBC, Woody Allen Looks at 1967. It featured Liza Minnelli, who acted alongside Allen in some skits; Aretha Franklin, the musical guest; and conservative writer William F. Buckley, the featured guest. In 1969 Allen hosted his first American special for CBS television, The Woody Allen Special, which included skits with Candice Bergen, a musical performance from the 5th Dimension, and an interview between Allen and Billy Graham.

In 1966 Allen wrote the play Don't Drink the Water. The play starred Lou Jacobi, Kay Medford, Anita Gillette and Allen's future movie co-star Tony Roberts. A film adaptation of the play, directed by Howard Morris, was released in 1969, starring Jackie Gleason. Because he was not particularly happy with that version, in 1994 Allen directed and starred in a second version for television, with Michael J. Fox and Mayim Bialik.

In 1981 Allen's play The Floating Light Bulb, starring Danny Aiello and Bea Arthur, premiered on Broadway and ran for 65 performances. While receiving mixed reviews, it gave autobiographical insight into Allen's childhood, specifically his fascination with magic tricks. The play, set in 1945, is a semi-autobiographical tale of a lower-middle-class family in Brooklyn. New York Times critic Frank Rich gave the play a mild review, writing, "there are a few laughs, a few well-wrought characters, and, in Act II, a beautifully written scene that leads to a moving final curtain". Rich also compared the play to Tennessee Williams's work.

On October 20, 2011, Allen's one-act play Honeymoon Motel opened on Broadway as part of a larger piece titled Relatively Speaking, with two other one-act plays, one by Ethan Coen and one by Elaine May.

On March 11, 2014, Allen's musical Bullets over Broadway opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. It was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman and starred Zack Braff, Nick Cordero, and Betsy Wolfe. Allen received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. The show received six Tony award nominations.

Allen's first movie was the Charles K. Feldman production What's New, Pussycat? (1965), for which he wrote the screenplay. He was disappointed with the final product, which inspired him to direct every film he wrote thereafter except Play It Again, Sam. Allen's first directorial effort was What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966, co-written with Mickey Rose), in which an existing Japanese spy movie—Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi (1965), "International Secret Police: Key of Keys"—was redubbed in English by Allen and friends with fresh new, comic dialogue. In 1967 Allen played Jimmy Bond in the 007 spoof Casino Royale.

In May 2019 it was announced that Allen's latest film would be titled Rifkin's Festival, and Variety magazine confirmed that its cast would include Christoph Waltz, Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López and Wallace Shawn and it would be produced by Gravier Productions. The film was produced with Mediapro, an independent Spanish TV-film company. Rifkin's Festival completed filming in October 2019. On September 18, 2020, it premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. It has received positive reviews, with Jessica Kiang of The New York Times calling it "to the ravenous captive, like finding an unexpected stash of dessert".

On March 2, 2020, it was announced that Grand Central Publishing would release Allen's autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, on April 7, 2020, This was after it was announced Allen had written a memoir and shopped it around to multiple prominent publishers who rejected it. The book was set to be released in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, and France, among others. According to the publisher, the book is a "comprehensive account of Allen's life, both personal and professional, and describes his work in films, theater, television, nightclubs, and print...Allen also writes of his relationships with family, friends, and the loves of his life."

While best known for his films, Allen has enjoyed a successful career in theatre, starting as early as 1960, when he wrote sketches for the revue From A to Z. His first great success was Don't Drink the Water, which opened in 1968, and ran for 598 performances for almost two years on Broadway. His success continued with Play It Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen and Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, although none of the nominations were for Allen's writing or acting.

Allen is a passionate fan of jazz, which appears often in the soundtracks to his films. He began playing clarinet as a child and took his stage name from clarinetist Woody Herman. He has performed publicly at least since the late 1960s, including with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper.Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have been playing each Monday evening at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan for many years specializing in New Orleans jazz from the early 20th century. He plays songs by Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, and Louis Armstrong. The documentary film Wild Man Blues (directed by Barbara Kopple) chronicles a 1996 European tour by Allen and his band, as well as his relationship with Previn.

Allen and his band played at the Montreal International Jazz Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008. For many years he wanted to make a film about the origins of jazz in New Orleans. Tentatively titled American Blues, the film would follow the different careers of Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Allen stated that the film would cost between $80 and $100 million and is therefore unlikely to be made.