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Woody Allen saves a friend’s life with a Heimlich maneuver in New York


In an unexpected twist, Woody Allen recently saved a man’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver at a busy New York restaurant.

The filmmaker sprang into action and performed the maneuver on his friend Andrew Stein at their favorite Upper East Side Italian restaurant, Caravaggio.

In a remarkable act, the 87-year-old Oscar-winning actor jumped out of his seat and grabbed Stein, 76, as he began to choke on a piece of pork.

As their dinner companions – famed attorney Alan Dershowitz and Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn – watched in horror, Stein, who served as New York City Council president from 1986 to 1994, turned red and had pain. trouble breathing.

That’s when the Annie Hall director, who is five-foot-five, applied the rescue maneuver with surprising force and vigor, according to witnesses at the restaurant on May 16.

“I’m embarrassed to say this, but Woody actually saved my life,” Stein told Page Six. “I normally order fish, but this time I opted for pork, and shortly after we started eating, a piece of meat lodged in my throat and I was having trouble breathing.

Woody Allen poses with a staff member at his usual haunt Caravaggio on the Upper East Side.
Allen with a staff member at his favorite restaurant Caravaggio on the Upper East Side.

“I started to panic. I was terrified. And then Woody came to my rescue.

“It really was like a scene from one of his movies. If it wasn’t for his quick thinking, I’m afraid I’m dead. I owe him my life.

This isn’t the first time Allen has saved a life. In 1992, he saved his dining companion, former “Saturday Night Live” producer Jean Doumanian, when she began choking on a piece of bread at the clubby Second Avenue restaurant Primola.

Andre Stein
Andrew Stein said of Allen, “I owe him my life.”
Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The move was even reported on the front page of the New York Post at the time, and Doumainian said his actions “sealed” that they had become lifelong friends. Until they end up suing each other.

In his book “Side Effects,” a collection of essays written between 1975 and 1980, Allen even attempted to imagine the origin of the Heimlich maneuver, albeit in a slightly chilling way.

He imagined someone putting his arms around a pretty woman and hugging her, only she choked on a piece of herring at that moment.

    Woody Allen poses with a hat and gray sweater during a photocall in the Spanish city of San Sebastian.
This isn’t the first time Allen has saved a friend’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.
AFP via Getty Images

“He hopes…that one day we will live in a world where no man, woman or child is defeated by their own main course,” Allen wrote.

Stein’s father, Jerry Finkelstein, was the wealthy publisher of the New York Law Journal, but Stein shortened his name when he entered politics. His brother is Jimmy Finkelstein, who was co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill and is also the founder of the news site The Messenger.

In 2010, Stein pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax evasion charge, admitting he had paid no more than $1 million in income tax in 2008, and was sentenced to 500 hours of general interest work.

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn on the streets of New York
Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn, was also at dinner last week.

Still, longtime Democrat Stein has remained active on New York’s political and social scene, and recently revealed to the Post in an op-ed with Dershowitz that he now plans to vote Republican.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.