(New York Jewish Week) — Woody Allen stepped into a different kind of starring role this week: the good samaritan who saves someone with the Heimlich maneuver.
The embattled Jewish Oscar winner helped his friend, Andrew Stein, a former Manhattan borough president, when Stein choked on a piece of pork at the Caravaggio restaurant on the Upper East Side last Tuesday, the New York Post reported.
“I am embarrassed to say it, but Woody actually saved my life,” said Stein, who is Jewish. “I normally order fish, but this time I went for the pork.”
Allen, Stein and Allen’s wife Soon-Yi Previn were joined at the dinner by the prominent lawyer and political analyst Alan Dershowitz.
“It really was like a scene from one of his movies,” Stein told the Post, which noted that the diminutive Allen leapt to the rescue with “surprising strength and vigor,” according to witnesses.
The longtime power player Stein, who was also president of the New York City Council from 1986-1994, shortened his name from Finkelstein when he entered politics. His father, Jerry Finkelstein, was the publisher of the New York Law Journal and his brother, Jimmy Finkelstein, is also a media mogul, having founded The Messenger after partially owning The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill. Stein, a Democrat, left politics in the mid-1990s.
Stein failed to pay over $1 million in income tax in 2008, leading to a sentencing of 500 hours of community service.
In a recent op-ed co-authored with Dershowitz titled “Why Biden might be the Dems’ last pro-Israel president,” Stein wrote that he will now be voting Republican because of the Democratic Party’s stance on Israel. (Dershowitz wrote that he “is planning to remain a Democrat and vote for Biden while seeking to marginalize the radical anti-Israel elements in that party.”)
As the Post reported, Allen has saved another person with the Heimlich maneuver at an Upper East Side Italian restaurant: In 1992, he sprang to the rescue of Jean Doumanian, a former “Saturday Night Live” producer, at Primola on 2nd Avenue.
Allen, 87 — whose latest brush with scandal involved his name being found in sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein’s private calendar — has not let allegations of sexual abuse made by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow completely derail his film career. The latest from the director, known for canonizing the neurotic Jewish male in comedy, is called “Coup de Chance” — a thriller and his first French-language film. A distributor picked it up last month, Variety reported.