Woody Allen testified Friday that Mia Farrow feigned suicide, made threatening pre-dawn phone calls to him and once frightened him so badly that he slept in his clothes after he hid sharp gardening tools from her.
Farrow stared at the filmmaker across the courtroom and at times wept as the two former lovers began a bitter trial for custody of their three children.
Allen said he once gave Farrow a $1-million gift after he had a particularly lucrative year in the movie business.
"I thought it would make her feel more secure," he added.
Allen painted a portrait of his former leading lady as someone who had strong favorites among her children, flew into seemingly uncontrollable rages and became jealous when he paid attention to their 7-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan.
On Thursday, a team of physicians and social workers in New Haven, Conn., exonerated Allen of charges brought by Farrow that he had molested Dylan last summer in Farrow's home in Bridgewater, Conn.
Prosecutors in Connecticut ordered the study as part of their investigation into whether criminal charges of sexual abuse should be filed against Allen.
Connecticut State's Atty. Frank Maco said Friday that he would review the Yale-New Haven Hospital report soon, adding: "There has been no evidence presented in the state police investigation that suggests that Ms. Farrow acted in any way other than that of a concerned mother. . . . The evidence does not show Ms. Farrow to be the prime instigator in bringing to light the alleged incidents."
Also on Friday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Elliott Wilk surprised lawyers for both sides in the custody case by suddenly ordering the trial to begin.
Allen and Farrow are battling over custody of Dylan; their 4-year-old biological son, Satchel; and adopted son, Moses, 14. Farrow's lawyers have moved to void Allen's portion of the adoptions on the grounds of fraud because he did not disclose his relationship with Soon-Yi Farrow Previn, 22, Farrow's adopted daughter from her former marriage to conductor Andre Previn.
Allen testified that while he had not slept with Farrow during the last five years of their 12-year relationship, she became enraged--and the rage never abated--after she learned on Jan. 13, 1992, that he was having an affair with Soon-Yi.
Farrow discovered the relationship when she found nude pictures of Soon-Yi in Allen's apartment that January. He said he had taken the photos the day before.
"I was at work. Miss Farrow had accompanied Satchel to my apartment," Allen said as Farrow sat alongside her lawyer and stared at him. ". . . She had discovered the pictures. She carried on. She was apoplectic on the phone.
"I said that I wanted to marry Soon-Yi. She was alternately raging and ferocious with me. . . . She made no attempt at the time to protect any of the children from this. She carried on full-out in front of the household help and the children. . . . It was the force of a hurricane."
Allen said he subsequently received threatening phone calls from Farrow at 2 o'clock and 3 o'clock in the morning.
"She wanted to put my eyes out, kill me," the actor and producer said. ". . . She would call me night after night, constantly raging."
He said during one visit to his apartment, Farrow turned over his furniture and threw his pillows out the window.
"The windows were open, and there was a suicide note. I was petrified. She was in the other room, weeping."
He said just before he was accused of molesting Dylan in Farrow's Connecticut home, they argued and Farrow went downstairs in a rage.
"I was frightened. I took the garden tools and hid them," Allen said. "I went to sleep with my clothes on."