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Abbott and Costello

The Masters: Abbott and Costello
Roles
Born
October 2, 1895 (Abbott) / March 6, 1906 (Costello)
Died
April 24, 1974 (Abbott) / March 3, 1959 (Costello)

Biography

Author
Date
08-15-2004

Bud Abbott was the tall thin one, Lou Costello the short chubby one. That answers the second most important question after "who's on first?" That classic bit, among the duo's other polished vaudeville routines catapulted them to the heights of Hollywood stardom in the early nineteen forties.

Born William Alexander Abbott in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Bud matured and hit the vaudeville circuit, working a number of partners. He was renowned in the business as as being a straight man of peerless ability In nearby Patterson, New Jersey, Louis Francis Cristillo, was born eleven years after Bud Abbott, but when they finally paired up on stage, the duo's timing made it seem as though they had been together since the womb.

Soon Hollywood beckoned the boys and their box office success soared during the years of WWII. Their box office draw had begun to wane a bit towards the end of the decade and Universal Pictures, their contract studio, had also seen a decline in the popularity of their classic monster movies. The 1941 success of Abbott and Costello in Hold That Ghost (featuring future Scream Queen Evelyn Ankers) the two proved they could more than handle horror-comedy.

Universal decided to cast the comedians opposite Bela Lugosi as Dracula (only the second time he appeared on film as the Count), Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein kicked off an entire series of horror comedies with the most popular monsters of cinema from the Mummy to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that lasted well into the nineteen fifties.

Into the fifties the team found their success in films decline, but they were big hits on the new medium of television. All things must pass, and in nineteen fifty-six Abbott and Costello ceased performing together. Lou tried it on his own in fifty-nine starring in The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock, but a solo career was not to be with his death later that year. Bud worked solo, sort-of in the sixties as he voiced an animated version of himself in a series of Abbott and Costello cartoons.

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