From New York Newsday (Sunday, August 28, 1991). -– J.R.
WOODY ALLEN: A Biography, by Eric Lax. Knopf, 384 pp., $24.
BY JONATHAN ROSENBAUM
How does one write the biography of an untouchable? Without touching him –- or at least by handling him with kid gloves. When it comes to dealing with America’s favorite comic spokesman for the urban middle class, Eric Lax does a fair job of plotting out both the apprenticeship and the career moves of Woody AIlen as he gradually worked his way up from gag writer to stand-up comedian to increasingly ambitious filmmaker (from “Bananas” to”Hannah and Her Sisters” to “Another Woman”), with various side trips –- as jazz clarinetist, playwright and literary humorist — along the way. But when it comes to separating the Woody persona from the actual person, or the mystique from the life, Lax’s agenda goes soft. Devoted fans may discover a few unmined nuggets here, but for skeptics like myself the experience is as unreflective as any of Allen’s movies.
23-hour trip to the Soviet Union in 1988, Lax begins with the
birth of Allan Stewart Konigsberg in 1935 and the creation of
his familiar stage name 16 years later.… Read more »