About Abbott & Costello
About This Site
& Costello were the last of the great comedy teams. Their career spanned
21 years…from burlesque, to Broadway, to radio, to films and finally to,
Abbott and Lou Costello officially teamed up in 1936. Bud was regarded
as one of the best and sought after straightmen on the burlesque circuit.
Born William Alexander Abbott on October 2, 1895 in Asbury Park, New Jersey,
Bud’s early career in show business began in 1918 when he was a treasurer
of the National Theatre, a burlesque house in Washington, DC. It was here
where Bud met his wife, Jenny Mae Pratt, whose stage name was Betty Smith.
Costello was born Louis Francis Cristillo on March 6, 1906 in Patterson,
N.J. Wanting to try his luck in Hollywood, Lou found sparse work as
a laborer and an extra at MGM in 1927. He appeared in the boxing sequence
of Laurel & Hardy’s “Battle of the Century” (1927) and in the Delores
Del Rio 1928 epic “Trails of 98.”
By the time Lou worked his way back to the east
coast, Bud Abbott was already a successful straightman in burlesque.
Although Lou had his designs on becoming a dramatic actor, he worked
as a Dutch comic in St. Joseph, Missouri at $16.00 a week in order to
make his way back to N.J. Once home, he continued pursuing burlesque
jobs and for awhile worked as a dancing juvenile in Ann Corio’s “This
Is Burlesque.” It was in this show that he met his future wife, Anne
Battler and whom he married in 1934.
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