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Biography

Biography of George Abbott

George Abbott - an actor, writer, director and producer, had one of the most active and distinguished careers in the entire history of the American theater. The longevity of his theatrical career is legendary: he began as an actor on Broadway in The Misleading Lady (1913) and continued working as a director and play doctor well into the 1980s. He was born in Forestville, New York, and moved with his family to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Hamburg,uctionrsity of Rochester, where he joined the Dramatic Club. In 1912 he enrolled in a playwriting course at Harvard and won $100 for his play, The Man in the Manhole. In 1915, two years after The Misleading Lady, he was hired by producer John Golden as office boy/assistant casting director/associate playwright. He was named one of the 10 best performers of 1923 for his work in Zander the Great. He had his first hit as a playwright and director with Broadway (1926). His later directorial credits include the plays Twentieth Century (1932), Three Men on a Horse (1935; introduced Shirley Booth and Garson Kanin), Brother Rat (1936; introduced José Ferrer and Eddie Albert), and Too Many Girls (1939; introduced Desi Arnaz and Van Johnson). He directed his first musical, Rodgers and Hart's Jumbo, in 1935; in addition to A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, a short list of landmark musicals he directed includes On Your Toes (1936), The Boys From Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940), On the Town (1944), Beggar's Holiday (1946), High Button Shoes (1947), Where's Charley (1948), Call Me Madam (1950), Wonderful Town (1953), Pajama Game (1954), Damn Yankees (1955), Once Upon a Mattress (1959), Fiorello! (1959), Tenderloin (1960), Flora, the Red Menace (1965) and On Your Toes (revival, 1983). He helped many performers, directors, writers and choreographers early in their careers, including Harold Prince, Bob Fosse, Shirley Maclaine and Richard Adler. He received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize (in 1960 for Fiorello!), the 1960 NY Drama Critics Circle Award, 4 Donaldson Awards (1946, 1948, 1953 and 1955), 4 Tony Awards (1955, 1956, 1960 and 1963) and the Handel Medallion from the City of New York (1976); he was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1983. He died in 1995 at the age of 107.

Shows by George Abbott

Damn Yankees
Fiorello!
New Girl In Town
Pajama Game, The
Tenderloin
Where's Charley?