George Abbott life and biography

George Abbott picture, image, poster

George Abbott biography

Date of birth : 1887-06-25
Date of death : 1995-01-31
Birthplace : Forestville, New York, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-05-09
Credited as : Author and playwright, Damn Yankees, Tony Award

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George Abbott was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned more than eight decades.

Abbott was born in Forestville, New York, and later moved to 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.

He also worked in Hollywood as a writer and director while continuing with his theater work.

Among those who crossed paths with Abbott early in their careers are Desi Arnaz, Gene Tierney, Betty Comden, Hal Prince, Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Bob Fosse, Stephen Sondheim, Elaine Stritch, John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Liza Minnelli.


Damn Yankees! (26-Sep-1958)
The Pajama Game (29-Aug-1957)
Too Many Girls (8-Oct-1940)
The Cheat (28-Nov-1931)
My Sin (26-Sep-1931)
Manslaughter (23-Jul-1930)


1955 Tony Award for Best Musical – The Pajama Game
1956 Tony Award for Best Musical – Damn Yankees
1960 Pulitzer Prize for Drama – Fiorello!
1960 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – Fiorello!
1960 Tony Award for Best Musical – Fiorello!
1963 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
1976 Special Tony Award: The Lawrence Langer Award
1982 Kennedy Center Honors
1983 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical – On Your Toes
1987 Special Tony Award on the occasion of his 100th birthday


1930 Academy Award for Best Achievement in Writing – All Quiet on the Western Front
1958 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical – Damn Yankees
1958 Tony Award for Best Musical – New Girl in Town
1958 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical – The Pajama Game
1959 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – Damn Yankees
1963 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play – Never Too Late
1968 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical – How Now, Dow Jones

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