NEW YORK — “Cries and Whispers: The Ugly Explosion of an Unconventional Family,” announced the Aug. 31, 1992, cover of Time magazine, which bore Woody Allen’s bespectacled face. The sordid saga involving Allen and erstwhile romantic partner Mia Farrow had indeed exploded into the public consciousness days earlier. The most sensational part: an allegation that the celebrated director had taken their adopted daughter Dylan, 7, into an attic-like space at Farrow’s Connecticut home and molested her.
Allen vigorously denied the allegation and was never arrested or charged with a crime. Despite predictions by some that his career would falter, it hasn’t. At age 78 he still puts out a movie a year, won his fourth Oscar in 2012 for “Midnight in Paris,” and is nominated again this year - his 24th nod - for the “Blue Jasmine” screenplay. The two movies were his biggest commercial hits in years.
Indeed, it’s his continued success that likely brought the abuse claim back into the spotlight. Allen was given a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes in January that included a glowing televised tribute. That prompted critical comments from Mia Farrow and her son Ronan Farrow. (Ronan, an emerging TV personality, is presumed to be Allen’s biological son though Mia recently said he might be Frank Sinatra’s son.)
Then this past weekend, Dylan Farrow, now 28, married and living in Florida, penned an emotional open letter, accusing Hollywood of callously lionizing her tormentor. The letter revived in stunning detail an allegation more than two decades old, the details of which many had forgotten. Here is a look back at key moments and players of a story that, whichever side you believe, is one of the more disturbing celebrity sagas in memory:
Allen formally adopts two of Farrow’s previously adopted children, Dylan, 7, and Moses, 13, after Farrow tells a court he’s an excellent father. The couple has been together for more than a decade, though they live separately on opposite sides of Central Park.
Visiting Allen’s apartment, Farrow discovers a set of nude, explicit photos Allen has taken of her 21-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (her father is Farrow’s ex-husband, Andre Previn). The discovery precipitates their split.
Farrow gives Allen a Valentine with a photograph of her and some of her children; a steak knife is stuck into Farrow’s heart, covered with a photo of Soon-Yi, and meat skewers are stuck in the chests of the children. (The card will be displayed on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”)