GEORGE ABBOTT Biography - Writers


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Name: George Francis Abbott                                                             
Born: June 25, 1887                                                                     
Died: January 31, 1995                                                                 
George Francis Abbott (June 25, 1887 - January 31, 1995) was a theatre producer         
and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose           
career spanned more than seven decades.                                                 
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 first appeared as an actor on Broadway in The Misleading Lady in 1913.           
While acting in several plays in New York City he began to write, with his first       
successful play being The Fall Guy (1925).                                             
He worked in Hollywood as a writer and director while continuing with his theatre work. 
Among those who crossed paths with Abbott early in their careers are Desi Arnaz,       
Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Bob Fosse, Stephen Sondheim, 
John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Liza Minnelli.                                               
Abbott married his first wife Ednah Levis in 1914. They had a daughter Judith,         
who became an actress and married actor Tom Ewell in 1946. Ednah died in 1930           
and Abbott married Mary Sinclair in April 1946; they divorced in 1951. On               
November 21, 1983, five months past his 96th birthday, he married Joy Valderrama.       
Abbott died of a stroke in Miami Beach, four months and three weeks short of his       
108th birthday. The New York Times obituary read, "Mrs.