George Abbott

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George Francis Abbott (June 25, 1887 – January 31, 1995) was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned more than eight decades.



Early years

Abbott was born in Forestville, New York, near the town of Salamanca, which twice elected his father mayor. In 1898, his family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he attended Kearney Military Academy. Within a few years, his family returned to New York, and he graduated from Hamburg High School in 1907. Four years later, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester, where he wrote his first play, Perfectly Harmless, for the University Dramatic Club.

Abbott then went to Harvard University, where he studied playwriting under George Pierce Baker. Under his tutelage, he wrote The Head of the Family, which was performed at the Harvard Dramatic Club in 1912. He then worked for a year as assistant stage manager at the Bijou Theatre in Boston, where his play The Man in the Manhole won a contest.


Abbott's career began in 1903 and ended in 1995 after 92 years.

While acting in several plays in New York City, he began to write; his first successful play was The Fall Guy (1925). Abbott acquired a reputation as an astute "show doctor." He frequently was called upon to supervise changes when a show was having difficulties in tryouts or previews prior to its Broadway opening. His first great hit was Broadway, written and directed in partnership with Philip Dunning, whose play Abbott "rejiggered".[1] It opened on September 16, 1926 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 603 performances. Other successes followed, and it was a rare year that did not have an Abbott production on Broadway.

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