Abbott and Costello

Abbott and Costello

U.S. comedic duo that was regarded as the archetypal team of burlesque comedy. Bud Abbott (orig. William Alexander Abbott; b. Oct. 2, 1895, Asbury Park, N.J., U.S.—d. April 24, 1974, Woodland Hills, Calif.) and Lou Costello (orig. Louis Francis Cristillo; b. March 6, 1906, Paterson, N.J., U.S.—d. March 3, 1959, East Los Angeles, Calif.) began performing together in vaudeville in the early 1930s, and in 1938 the pair made their radio debut. Their first successful film, Buck Privates (1941), was followed by more than 30 other slapstick comedies, with Abbott playing a bullying straight man to Costello's childlike buffoon. Their famous routine “Who's on First?” was first performed in the film The Naughty Nineties (1945). Their collaboration ended in 1957.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Abbott and Costello, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Abbott and Costello? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More