Bud Abbott was born William A. Abbott on October 2, 1895. His parents worked for the circus and so he was likely the little kid who belonged to the carnival people. This meant he could have wound up being a person who sells peanuts and breaks your concentration when you are watching the trapeze act but Bud Abbott had different plans than those. He got involved in burlesque shows as a producer and then started working as a straight man in a number of comedy acts.
Bud Abbott Meets Lou Costello
Bud had already been working in show business comedy for decades before he met Lou Costello in 1936 when he was forty years of age. Costello was younger and pretty much just starting out in the business compared to Abbott. They worked in burlesque together and then took their act to the radio. In those days radio comedy was a big deal and you could hear funny shows instead of just people talking all day and pretending they are funny.
They would make a fairly good name for themselves and got to do their act on Broadway. As a straight man, Bud Abbott specialized in being mean and talking down to Lou Costello. Despite this, they were always seen as best buddies in their roles. Then the movies would come calling.
Abbott and Costello movies
The first movie to feature Abbott and Costello was "One Night in the Tropics" but they wouldn't have there first big star performances until "Buck Privates" which was a smash hit and one of the funniest movies of all times. Abbott and Costello would go on to make 36 feature films, such as "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy." A lot of their films involved them meeting someone.
Abbott and Costello go on T.V.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello would get into the new medium of the nation on television and would appear in the Colgate Comedy Hour (which was sponsored by Colgate toothpaste as in those days shows had main sponsors who got most of the advertising time to sell their products and that is why soap operas are called soap operas because they were sponsored by soap). Then they would get their own television show, which was my favorite when it was on.
Abbott and Costello break up
In 1957 Bud Abbott and Lou Costello would break up. There are a lot of stories about that but most are the stuff of rumors. They just could not work together anymore and didn't get along very well anymore. So they went their seperate ways.
Bud Abbott would retire from the business at that point. You would figure he put away a nice nest egg but he ran into some problems with income tax (another reason to make income tax go away) and then made a comeback in show business. He did some television movies and worked as the straight man for a comedian called Candy Candido but that was not close to as funny as he was with Lou Costello.
In 1966 Bud was hired by Hanna-Barbera to do voice over work. It wasn't just any voice over work they wanted him to do. They were making an animated Abbott and Costello series and needed him to do the voice of Bud Abbott. That was his last job and he died in 1974 when Gerald Ford was president.