1 December 2010 4:11 AM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Movie icon Woody Allen hits 75 on Wednesday, marking a Hollywood career which has taken him from writing jokes for The Tonight Show to directing and starring in Academy Award-winning classics.

The veteran film-maker, actor and comedian has earned his place in movie history as one of the most prolific directors of his generation - shooting and releasing roughly one film every year for the last three decades.

And Allen shows no signs of slowing down - he shot his latest project, Midnight in Paris, in the French capital with an A-list cast including Rachel McAdams, Adrien Brody and Marion Cotillard.

To mark his milestone, WENN has trawled through the archives and put together 10 fascinating facts about the legend himself...

- He was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg in New York City and took his stage name from the clarinet player Woody Herman.

- He studied film at New York University but was thrown out after failing a film course in his first year.

- Allen got his start in showbiz when he was just a teenager - at 19, he was writing scripts for several TV shows, including Candid Camera, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show.

- He has won three Academy Awards and been nominated a total of 21 times, holding more Oscar screenwriting nominations than any other writer.

- Allen has had romantic relationships with his actress muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow and was once married to actress Louise Lasser.

- The director is his own harshest critic and refuses to watch his movies after they are released, although he's hailed 2005's Match Point, starring Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as lovers, as his best work.

- A life-size statue of Allen stands in his favourite Spanish city, Oviedo. He shot his 2008 movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona there.

- Jazz is one of Allen's greatest passions - he has been playing the clarinet since he was a child and now performs weekly at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

- Allen provided the voice of the neurotic worker ant, Z, in the 1998 animated hit Antz.

- A devoted New York Knicks fan, Allen is a season-ticket holder and has four courtside seats.

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