Woody

Woody

[wood-ee]
Guthrie, Woody (Woodrow Wilson Guthrie), 1912-67, American folk singer, guitarist, and composer, b. Okemah, Okla. Having learned harmonica as a boy and guitar as an adolescent, Guthrie was an itinerant musician and laborer from the age of 13. He was always deeply involved in union and left-wing politics, and he wrote many of his over 1,000 published songs on themes of social injustice, poverty, and politics. A friend of Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, and Ramblin Jack Elliott, Guthrie exerted a strong influence on younger performers, notably Bob Dylan. His most famous song is probably "This Land Is Your Land."

See his autobiography, Bound for Glory (1943, rev. ed. 1968); biographies by J. Klein (1980) and E. Cray (2004); R. Shelton, ed., Born to Win (1965); H. Yurchenco and M. Guthrie, A Mighty Hard Road (1970).

Guthrie's son, Arlo Guthrie, 1947-, b. New York City, is also a folk singer and composer. He is best known for "Alice's Restaurant," a rambling, witty song that was the basis of a motion picture in which he starred (1969).

Allen, Woody, 1935-, American actor, writer, and director, one of contemporary America's leading filmmakers, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., as Allen Stewart Konigsberg. Allen began his career writing for television comedians and performing in nightclubs. His early film comedies, which often depict neurotic urban characters preoccupied with sex, death, and psychiatry, include Sleeper (1973) and Annie Hall (1977; Academy Award, best picture). Much of Allen's later work in comedy and drama explores these themes as well as a sophisticated New Yorker's various other preoccupations.

Among his later films are the stylish Manhattan (1979); Broadway Danny Rose (1984), a New York comedy; the probing family drama Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Academy Award, best screenplay); the 1930s comedy Radio Days (1987); the searing Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989); Husbands and Wives (1992), a bittersweet domestic drama; the romantic and partly musical Everyone Says I Love You (1996); and the fictional jazz biography Sweet and Lowdown (1999). Several subsequent films failed to achieve the critical and popular plaudits earned by many of his earlier films, but Match Point (2005), a tale of wealth, lust, crime, and luck set in London, did much to revive his flagging reputation. Allen again used the city as the setting for the comedy Scoop (2006) and the drama Cassandra's Dream (2008) and turned to Catalonia, Spain, for his sensual, melancholy-tinged comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Allen also has written humorous prose pieces, many published in the New Yorker, and plays. In 1992, in a bitter public dispute, Allen left Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter then sued the actress for custody of their children and lost (1993).

See his The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose (2007); biographies by E. Lax (1991), J. Baxter (1999), and M. Meade (2000); E. Lax, Conversations with Woody Allen (2007); studies by D. Jacobs (1982), F. Hirsch (rev. ed. 1990), S. B. Girgus (1993), and D. Brode (1997); Woody Allen on Woody Allen (1995); documentary film Wild Man Blues (1998), dir. by B. Kopple.

Woody may mean:

  • a name in its own right - Woody
  • a short form of Woodrow (name)
  • an adjective for wood
  • the code name for version 3.0 of the Debian Linux distribution
  • American slang for an erection
  • alternative unit of momentum

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