After appearing in the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale, his rise to fame continued when his play Don't Drink the Water was produced on Broadway.
Allen next appeared in Herbert Ross's 1972 feature Play It Again, Sam, followed by his own return to the director's chair for 1973's futuristic comedy Sleeper.
While remaining as outlandish as his previous work, 1975's period comedy Love and Death signaled Allen's desire for respect as a serious filmmaker.
Allen's breakthrough was 1977's Best Picture-winning Annie Hall; bittersweet and deeply personal, it established a new kind of comedy -- soul-searching and sophisticated, even the film's nonlinear narrative was experimental.
A major commercial hit as well as a critical success, Annie Hall announced a new era of intelligence and complexity in American comedies, but Allen himself subsequently turned away from humor completely with 1978's Interiors, a brooding drama inspired by the films of his hero Ingmar Bergman.
Actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright Woody Allen redefined film comedy during the 1970s, bringing a new measure of sophistication and personal complexity to the form.
Drawing universal insight from the traditions of Yiddish humor, Allen established himself both as a comic Everyman and one of American filmmaking's true auteurs, writing and directing features which broke with established narrative conventions and infused the screen-comedy form with unprecedented substance and depth.
Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, NY, on December 1, 1935, he adopted his stage name at the age of 17, and in 1953 enrolled in New York University's film program, quickly failing the course "Motion Picture Production" and soon dropping out of school to begin writing for comedian David Alber for the sum of 20 dollars a week.
Two years later, Allen graduated to writing for television, working on the staff of the legendary Your Show of Shows, as well as penning material for Pat Boone.
During his five-year tenure in television, his efforts won him an Emmy nomination, but like Mel Brooks, Allen found his writing career stifling, and he eventually decided to try his hand as a standup performer.