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Woody Allen, 86, announces retirement from filmmaking to focus on writing

Four-time Academy Award-winning actor and director quits the movies, will write novel; has been plagued by accusations of sexual abuse by adopted daughter

Film director Woody Allen attends a press conference at La Scala opera house, in Milan, Italy, on July 2, 2019. (Luca Bruno/AP)
Film director Woody Allen attends a press conference at La Scala opera house, in Milan, Italy, on July 2, 2019. (Luca Bruno/AP)

Woody Allen announced Sunday that he is retiring from filmmaking after a career spanning more than five decades, Variety reported.

While promoting his 50th film in Europe, Allen told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, “My idea, in principle, is not to make more movies, and focus on writing.”

The director and actor said he intends to produce a novel.

Over the course of his career, Allen received 16 Oscar nominations for best screenplay and won four Academy Awards.

In June, Allen floated the idea that he would retire in an interview with Alex Baldwin, saying “a lot of the thrill is gone.” Allen cited the shift toward movie streaming rather than the more traditional cinema model as the cause of his declining passion.

“I don’t get the same fun [as] doing a movie and putting it in a theater,” Allen said. “It was a nice feeling to know that 500 people were seeing it at once.”

In this Saturday, May 15, 2010 file photo, filmmaker Woody Allen, right, and his wife Soon-Yi Previn arrive for the premiere of “Another Year,” at the 63rd international film festival in Cannes, southern France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

The 86-year-old director and comedian fell from grace in the US after his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused him of sexually abusing her as a child. Allen has always denied the claims.

The accusations were enough for Amazon to cancel its release of Allen’s film “A Rainy Day in New York,” tearing up their $80 million contract.

According to a 2015 biography authored by New York-based writer David Evanier, Allen put his Jewishness at the forefront of his work, getting to the heart of Jewish insecurity in the process.

“Allen was the first mainstream Jewish comedian star,” says Evanier, who has also written biographies of Tony Bennett and Bobby Darrin.

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in 1986’s ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ (YouTube)

Agencies contributed to this report

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