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William Alexander "Bud" Abbott (October 2, 1897 – April 24, 1974) was an American actor of burlesque, radio, stage, television and film, producer, and comedian. He is best remembered as the "straight man" of the comedy duo Abbott and Costello, along with Lou Costello.[1] Abbott was active for over 30 years, appearing in both television and film roles.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Lou Costello
Lou Costello
and Hollywood 2.2 Strain and split 2.3 Later years

3 Personal life 4 Death 5 Honors and awards 6 Filmography

6.1 As himself

7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Abbott was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey
Asbury Park, New Jersey
on October 2, 1897, into a show business family.[1][2] His parents, Rae Fisher and Harry Abbott, had worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus.[3][4] Several years after the family relocated to Brooklyn, Abbott dropped out of grammar school and began working summers with his father at Dreamland Park on Coney Island. When he was 15, Abbott signed on as a cabin boy on a Norwegian steamer, but was soon forced to shovel coal. He eventually worked his way back to the United States after a year. His father was a longtime advance man for the Columbia Burlesque Wheel, and he installed Bud in the box office of the Casino Theater in Brooklyn. Bud spent the next few years in burlesque box offices. In 1918, working in Washington, D.C., he met and married Jenny Mae Pratt, a burlesque dancer and comedian who performed as Betty Smith. They remained together until his death 55 years later. In 1923 Abbott produced a cut-rate vaudeville tab show called Broadway Flashes, which toured on the Gus Sun circuit.[5] Abbott began performing as a straight man in the show when he could no longer afford to pay one. He continued producing and performing in burlesque shows on the Mutual Burlesque wheel, and as his reputation grew, he began working with veteran comedians like Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson.[6] Abbott suffered from epilepsy starting from about 1926.[7] In 1964, he suffered the first in a series of strokes.[6] Career[edit] Lou Costello
Lou Costello
and Hollywood[edit] Abbott crossed paths with Lou Costello
Lou Costello
in burlesque a few times in the early 1930s when Abbott was producing and performing in Minsky's Burlesque shows and Costello was a rising comic. They first worked together in stock burlesque in 1935 at the Eltinge Theatre
Eltinge Theatre
on 42nd Street, after an illness sidelined Costello's regular partner.[8] They formally teamed up in 1936, and went on to perform together in burlesque, vaudeville, minstrel shows, and stage shows.[1] In 1938, they received national exposure as regulars on the Kate Smith Hour radio show, which led to roles in a Broadway musical, The Streets of Paris. In 1940, Universal signed the team for their first film, One Night in the Tropics. Despite having minor roles, Abbott and Costello stole the film with several classic routines, including an abbreviated version of "Who's On First?"[6] During World War II, Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
were among the most popular and highest-paid stars in the world. Between 1940 and 1956 they made 36 films and earned a percentage of the profits on each.[6] They had their own radio program (The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Show) throughout the 1940s, first on NBC
NBC
from 1942 to 1947, and from 1947 to 1949 on ABC. In the 1950s, they introduced their comedy to live television on The Colgate Comedy Hour, and launched their own half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Show. Abbott was very supportive of his relatives. Norman and Betty Abbott, the children of Bud's older sister, Olive, started their careers working behind the scenes on Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
films. Betty became Blake Edwards' longtime script supervisor, and Norman directed many television sitcoms, including the Jack Benny Show
Jack Benny Show
and Sanford and Son.[citation needed] Strain and split[edit] Relations between Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
were strained by egos and salary disputes. In their burlesque days they split their earnings 60%–40%, favoring Abbott, because the straight man was always viewed as the more valuable member of the team. This was eventually changed to 50%–50%, but after a year in Hollywood, Costello insisted on a 60%–40% split in his favor, and it remained so for the remainder of their careers. Costello also demanded that the team be renamed "Costello and Abbott," but this was rejected by Universal Studios, resulting in a "permanent chill" between the two partners, according to Lou's daughter Chris Costello in her biography Lou's on First. Their relationship was further strained by Abbott's alcohol abuse, a habit motivated by his desire to stave off epileptic seizures. The team's popularity waned in the 1950s, and they were bedeviled by tax issues; the IRS demanded heavy back taxes, forcing the partners (both of whom had been free spenders and serious gamblers) to sell most of their assets, including the rights to many of their films. Universal dropped their contract after 14 years in 1955. Abbott and Costello split in 1957.[9] Lou Costello
Lou Costello
died on March 3, 1959. Abbott then planned to team up with Eddie Foy Jr.[10] Later years[edit] In 1960, Abbott began performing with a new partner, Candy Candido, to good reviews. But Abbott called it quits, remarking that "No one could ever live up to Lou." The following year, Abbott performed in a dramatic television episode of General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
titled "The Joke's on Me". A few years later, Abbott provided his own voice for the Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera
animated series The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Cartoon Show, with Stan Irwin providing the voice of Lou Costello. Abbott fell over and broke his left hip in 1973, and then broke his left leg in another fall.[11] Personal life[edit]

Abbott's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
for his work in television

Bud and Betty Abbott were married for 55 years. The couple adopted two children: Bud Jr. in 1942 and Vickie in 1949. Bud Jr. died on January 19, 1997 at the age of 57. Abbott has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: the radio star is located at 6333 Hollywood Boulevard, the motion pictures star is located at 1611 Vine Street, and the television star is located at 6740 Hollywood Boulevard.[12] Death[edit] Abbott died of prostate cancer[13] at the age of 76 on April 24, 1974, at his home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.[1][14] His remains were cremated and his ashes were spread into the Pacific Ocean. His wife Betty died on September 12, 1981 at the age of 79. When Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
was asked about Abbott shortly after his death, his response was that Abbott was "the greatest straight man ever."[6] Honors and awards[edit] Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
are among the few non-baseball personnel to be memorialized in the Baseball Hall of Fame, although they are not inductees of the Hall itself. A plaque and a gold record of the "Who's On First?" sketch have been on permanent display there since 1956, and the routine runs on an endless video loop in the exhibit area.[15] Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
each have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work in radio, television and motion pictures. In 1942 they were voted the country's No. 1 Box Office Stars by exhibitors. Abbott received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Acting (posthumously) from the Garden State Film Festival in 2006; it was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Vickie Abbott Wheeler.[citation needed] Abbott is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[16] Filmography[edit]

Film

Year Film Role Notes

1940 One Night in the Tropics Abbott Film Debut

1941 Buck Privates Slicker Smith First Comedy[8]

In the Navy Smoky Adams

Hold That Ghost Chuck Murray

Keep 'Em Flying Blackie Benson

1942 Ride 'Em Cowboy Duke

Rio Rita Doc

Pardon My Sarong Algy Shaw

Who Done It? Chick Larkin

1943 It Ain't Hay Grover Mickridge

Hit The Ice Flash Fulton

1944 In Society Eddie Harrington

Lost in a Harem Peter Johnson

1945 Here Come The Co-Eds Slats McCarthy

The Naughty Nineties Dexter Broadhurst

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in Hollywood Buzz Kurtis

1946 Little Giant John Morrison/Tom Chandler

The Time of Their Lives Cuthbert/Dr. Greenway

1947 Buck Privates
Buck Privates
Come Home Slicker Smith Sequel to Buck Privates

The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap Duke Egan

1948 The Noose Hangs High Ted Higgins Also Producer (uncredited)

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Frankenstein Chick Young

Mexican Hayride Harry Lambert

10,000 Kids and a Cop Himself Documentary short

1949 Africa Screams Buzz Johnson

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Casey Edwards

1950 Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in the Foreign Legion Bud Jones

1951 Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Invisible Man Bud Alexander

Comin' Round The Mountain Al Stewart

1952 Jack and the Beanstalk Mr. Dinklepuss Also Producer

Lost in Alaska Tom Watson

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Captain Kidd Rocky Stonebridge Also Executive Producer

1953 Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Go to Mars Lester

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Slim

1955 Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Keystone Kops Harry Pierce

Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Mummy Peter Patterson

1956 Dance With Me, Henry Bud Flick

1965 The World of Abbott and Costello - Compilation Film

Television

Year Title Role Notes

1952–1954 The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Show Bud Abbott 52 Episodes

1961 General Electric Theater Ernie Kauffman Episode: "The Joke's On Me" (04/16/61)

1967–1968 The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Cartoon Show Abbott (Voice) 39 Episodes, 156 segments

As himself[edit]

ABC 2000: The Millennium (1999) (TV) (voice) The Century: America's Time (1999) (TV Mini Series) This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life
(1956) (TV Series) Toast of the Town (1955) (TV Series) Screen Snapshots Series 33, No. 10: Hollywood Grows Up (1954) News of the Day (1952) The Colgate Comedy Hour
The Colgate Comedy Hour
(1951) (Host, 1951–1954) Screen Snapshots: Motion Picture Mothers, Inc. (1949) 10,000 Kids and a Cop (1948) Picture People No. 10: Hollywood at Home (1942) Meet the People (1941)

References[edit]

^ a b c d "Bud Abbott, Straight Man To Lou Costello, Is Dead". New York Times. April 25, 1974.  ^ The year of birth has been reported as 1895, 1896, 1897, and 1898 in different sources. The 1895 date was perpetuated by sources copying from earlier sources. His birth certificate and World War I draft card both use "October 2, 1897". ^ "Bud Abbott". biography.com. Retrieved November 15, 2014.  ^ Parish, J.R.; Leonard, W.T. (1979). The funsters. Arlington House. ISBN 9780870004186. Retrieved November 15, 2014.  ^ Slide, Anthony. The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1994, p. 1. ^ a b c d e Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0 ^ Thomas, Bob (1977). "Bud and Lou: the Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Story." Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott. ISBN 0-397-01195-4 ^ a b "Abbott, Bud; and Costello, Lou". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.  ^ "Abbott, Costello Split. Comedy Team Breaks Up to Let Abbott Raise Horses". New York Times. United Press International. July 15, 1957.  ^ "Abbott and Foy Team. Late Lou Costello's Partner to Work With Comedian". New York Times. United Press International. June 11, 1959.  ^ http://www.abbottandcostello.net/nw_article9.htm ^ " Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Bud Abbott". walkoffame.com. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 1, 2017.  ^ http://www.abbottandcostello.net/nw_article10.htm ^ Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
dies at 78 ^ Dunning, J. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford Univ. Press (1998), pp. 2-3. ISBN 0-19-507678-8 ^ New Jersey to Bon Jovi: You Give Us a Good Name Yahoo News, February 2, 2009

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bud Abbott.

Biography portal

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Bud Abbott

Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
on IMDb Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
at AllMovie Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
in the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Directory Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
at Find a Grave

v t e

Abbott and Costello

Bud Abbott Lou Costello

Films

One Night in the Tropics Buck Privates In the Navy Hold That Ghost Keep 'Em Flying Ride 'Em Cowboy Rio Rita Pardon My Sarong Who Done It? It Ain't Hay Hit the Ice In Society Lost in a Harem Here Come the Co-Eds The Naughty Nineties Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in Hollywood Little Giant The Time of Their Lives Buck Privates
Buck Privates
Come Home The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap The Noose Hangs High Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Frankenstein Mexican Hayride Africa Screams Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in the Foreign Legion Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Invisible Man Comin' Round the Mountain Jack and the Beanstalk Lost in Alaska Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Captain Kidd Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Go to Mars Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Keystone Kops Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Mummy Dance with Me, Henry The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
(Costello only) The World of Abbott and Costello

Shorts

10,000 Kids and a Cop

Television

The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Show (List of episodes) The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Cartoon Show (Abbott only)

Bits

Who's on First?

Key personnel

John Grant Arthur Lubin

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 39638614 LCCN: n81083801 ISNI: 0000 0000 6302 0667 GND: 119081741 SUDOC: 059611006 BNF: cb146595292 (data) ICCU: ITICCUUBOV485349 BNE: XX1727

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