Bud Abbott

Bud Abbott

Infobox actor
name = Bud Abbott

caption = Bud Abbott (left) and Lou Costello (right)
birthname = William Alexander Abbott
birthdate = birth date|1895|10|2|mf=y
birthplace = Asbury Park, New Jersey
deathdate = death date and age|1974|4|24|1895|10|2
deathplace = Woodland Hills, California
occupation = Actor, Comedian
spouse = Betty Smith (1918-1974) (his death)
children = Bud Abbott, Jr, Vickie Abbott

William Alexander “Bud” Abbott (October 2, 1895April 24, 1974) was an American actor, producer and comedian born in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He is best remembered as the straight man of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, with Lou Costello.

Early years

Abbott was born into a show business family. His parents worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus: his mother, Rae Fisher, was a bareback rider and his father, Harry, was an advance man. Bud dropped out of school as a child and began working at Coney Island. When Bud was 16, his father, now an employee of the Columbia Burlesque Wheel, installed him in the box office of the Casino Theater in Brooklyn. Eventually Bud began putting together touring burlesque shows. In 1918 he married Betty Smith, a burlesque dancer and comedienne. Shortly after his marriage, Abbott and his new wife began producing a vaudeville "tab show" called "Broadway Flashes". This show toured on the Gus Sun Vaudeville Circuit. [Slide, Anthony. "The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville." Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1994. p. 1.] Around 1924 Bud started performing as a straight man in an act with Betty. As his stature grew, Abbott began working with veteran comedians like Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson.Fact|date=February 2007

Lou Costello and Hollywood

Abbott crossed paths with Lou Costello in burlesque in the early 1930s. Abbott was producing and performing in Minsky's Burlesque shows, while Costello was a rising comic. They formally teamed up in 1936 and performed together in burlesque, vaudeville, minstrel shows, and cinemas.

In 1938 they received national exposure for the first time by performing on the "Kate Smith Hour" radio show, which led to the duo appearing in a Broadway musical, "The Streets of Paris". In 1940, Universal signed Abbott and Costello for their first film, "One Night in the Tropics". Although Abbott and Costello were only filling supporting roles, they stole the film with their classic routines, including "Who's On First?" (It is widely rumored that Abbott and Costello are the only two non-baseball players honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but this is actually not true.) [Baseball Hall of Fame [http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/faq.htm#nothing] ]

During World War II, 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. They were popular on radio throughout the 1940s, primarily on their own program which ran from 1942 until 1947 on NBC and from 1947 to 1949 on ABC. In the 1950s they brought their comedy to live television on "The Colgate Comedy Hour", and launched their own half-hour series, "The Abbott and Costello Show".

The children of Bud Abbott's sister Olive, Norman and Betty Abbott, started on their own careers with help from their Uncle Bud Abbott: Betty as the script girl on "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and Norm and who directed live TV. After Olive's husband abandoned his family (allegedly going for a pack of smokes and never coming home,) Bud Abbott supported them. Bud changed everyone's name back to Abbott and raised them as his own children. He also adopted two children with his wife Betty Abbott.

Bud Abbott's great-great-great-niece and granddaughter of Norman Abbott, Kathleen Abbott aka Lisa Bay, was born to Chrissy Abbott in 1966, while Chrissy was attending Beverly Hills High School, and is the adopted sister of director Michael Bay.

plit up

Relations between the two partners had been strained for years. In their early burlesque days, their salaries were split sixty-forty, favoring Abbott, because the straight man was always viewed as the more valuable member of the team. That was changed to fifty-fifty after they became burlesque stars.

Another version was that the sixty-forty split was Costello's idea. "A Good Straight Man is hard to find" is attributed to Costello.

The sixty-forty split had long irked Costello. Later, after "Buck Privates" made them movie stars, Costello insisted that the split be reversed in his favor, and it remained sixty-forty for the remainder of their careers. Costello's other demand, that the team be renamed "Costello and Abbott," was rejected by Universal Studios. The result was a "permanent chill" between the two partners, according to Lou's daughter Chris Costello, in her biography "Lou's on First".

The team's popularity waned in the 1950s, and Abbott and Costello parted ways in July 1957. Lou Costello died on March 3, 1959.

Later years

Abbott attempted to begin performing again in 1960, with a new partner, Candy Candido, and received good reviews. But Abbott called it quits, remarking that "No one could ever live up to Lou." On TV, he performed in a dramatic episode of "General Electric Theater" titled "The Joke's On Me" in 1961. A few years later, Bud provided his own voice for the Hanna-Barbera animated series "Abbott and Costello", with Stan Irwin providing the voice of Lou Costello.

Bud and Betty were married for 55 years. The couple adopted two children: Bud Jr. in 1942 and Vickie in 1949. Bud Jr. died in January 1997, at the age of 57.

Bud Abbott has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: the radio star is located on 6333 Hollywood Blvd., the motion pictures star is located on 1611 Vine St., and the TV star is located on 6740 Hollywood Blvd.


Bud Abbott suffered from epilepsy throughout his life. In the early 1960s he suffered the first in a series of strokes. In 1972 he broke his hip & shortly after that was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Abbott died of the disease at the age of 78 on April 24, 1974, in Woodland Hills, California. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. [Find-A-Grave [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1881] ] When Groucho Marx was asked about Abbott shortly after his death, his response was that Bud was "the greatest straight man ever." [Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). "Abbott and Costello in Hollywood". New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0]


As an actor - Films

As an actor - Television

As himself

* "ABC 2000: The Millennium" (1999) (TV) (voice)
* "The Century: America's Time" (1999) (TV Mini Series)
* "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" (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)


External links

*amg name|2:69
*Find A Grave|id=1881

NAME= Abbott, Bud
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Abbott, William Alexander
DATE OF BIRTH= 1895-10-2
PLACE OF BIRTH= Asbury Park, New Jersey
DATE OF DEATH= 1974-4-24
PLACE OF DEATH= Woodland Hills, California

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