A lifetime’s assemblage of neurotic New York Jewish eccentricities has concealed a polymath who’s worked brilliantly in several careers. Woody Allen’s literary output alone would put him in the pantheon of great American humor writers such as Robert Benchley and S.J. Perelman.
He’s been a top standup comedian and TV comedy writer. And as actor, director and screenwriter, he’s absorbed the influences of Bergman and Fellini, among other greats, in making movies — including “Annie Hall” — that have won eight Academy Awards, either for themselves or the people who appear in them. He once said that God is basically an underachiever, as if Allen himself has been trying to make up for lost time.