Bud Abbott (October 2, 1897 - April 24, 1974) is a legendary American actor, producer and comedian born in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He is best known as the straight man of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, with Lou Costello.
Abbott, whose mother, Rae Fisher, was a bareback rider for the Ringling Brothers Circus, dropped out of school as a child and began working at Coney Island. He was 16 when he started working in burlesque in the box office of the Casino Theater in Brooklyn. Eventually he began putting together touring burlesque shows. Around 1924 he started performing as a straight man in an act with his wife, Betty. As his stature grew, Abbott began working with veteran comedians like Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson.
Abbott crossed paths with Lou Costello in burlesque in the early 1930s. They formally teamed up in 1936 and began performing together in burlesque, minstrel shows, vaudeville, and movie houses.
In burlesque tradition, their salaries were split 60/40, favoring Abbott, because the straight man was always viewed as the more valuable member of the team. (Later, after they became movie stars, Costello had the split reversed in his favor.)
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 in 1940, 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.)
During World War II, Abbott and Costello were among the most popular and highest-paid stars in the world. They made more than 30 films. In the 1950s they brought their comedy to live TV on the Colgate Comedy Hour, and their own half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show.
Abbott and Costello parted ways in 1957. Lou Costello died in 1959.
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 screen, he performed in a dramatic episode of General Electric Theater titled "The Joke's On Me" in 1961 and later 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 Abbott has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: the radio star is located on 6333 Hollywood Blvd., motion pictures star is located on 1611 Vine St., and the TV star is located on 6740 Hollywood Blvd.
Bud Abbott suffered from epilepsy and cancer and died at the age of 76 (reported as 78) in 1974 in Woodland Hills, California.