Woody Allen saves pal’s life with Heimlich maneuver at NYC restaurant

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106 shares, 167 points

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

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

In a remarkable act, the 87-year-old Oscar winner leapt from his seat and grabbed Stein, 76, as he began choking on a piece of pork.

While their dinner companions — famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn— looked on in horror, Stein, who was New York City Council President from 1986 until 1994,  turned red and struggled to breathe.

That’s when the five-foot-five “Annie Hall” director applied the life-saving maneuver with surprising strength and vigor, according to witnesses in the restaurant on May 16.

“I am embarrassed to say it, but Woody actually saved my life,” Stein told Page Six. “I normally order fish, but this time I went for the pork, and soon after we started to eat, a piece of the meat became lodged in my throat and I was struggling to breathe.

Woody Allen poses with a member of staff at his regular haunt Caravaggio on the Upper East Side.
Allen with a member of staff at his favorite eatery 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 fear I may have died. I owe him my life.”

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

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 became lifelong friends. Until they later ended up suing each other.

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

He pictured someone putting his arms around an attractive woman and hugging her, only she happened to be choking on a piece of herring at the time.

 Woody Allen poses in a hat and grey 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 someday we will live in a world where no man, woman, or child will be overcome by his 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 part 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 he failed to pay more than $1 million in income tax in 2008, and was sentenced to 500 hours of community service.

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

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

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