Norman Abbott

Norman Abbott (July 11, 1922 – July 9, 2016) was an American vaudevillian, actor, producer and television director.

Norman Abbott
BornJuly 11, 1922
DiedJuly 9, 2016(2016-07-09) (aged 93)
OccupationVaudevillian, Actor, Producer, Director
Spouse(s)Dominique Abbott
Children2 daughters
2 sons
3 stepsons

Abbott was born in New York City,[1] where his uncle, comedian Bud Abbott, and his mother raised him.[2] His early experience in entertainment was as a vaudeville performer, including summers working the 'borscht circuit" in resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York.[3]

During World War II, Abbott served as a member of the original United States Navy SEALs team.[2]

He directed episodes of Welcome Back, Kotter, Get Smart, The Munsters, Leave It To Beaver, Sanford and Son, and The Jack Benny Program.

In the 1940s, he and Pat Costello (brother of Lou Costello) formed a lesser-known Abbott and Costello comedy duo. Their act reversed roles from the original, with Norman Abbott being the comedian and Pat Costello being the straight man. They also worked as stand-ins for the better-known act during rehearsals for the film Who Done It? (1942).[3]

Abbott's obituary in The Hollywood Reporter described him as "the brainchild behind the Broadway sensation Sugar Babies, the comeback vehicle for Mickey Rooney in the late 1970s".[4] He conceived the idea of a Broadway musical based on burlesque after inheriting his uncle's "treasure trove of burlesque material, including written gags, props, music and posters".[4] Despite his having originated the concept, Abbott was fired as director of the show after two weeks' rehearsals.[4]

Abbott died in Valencia, California, on July 9, 2016[1] at the age of 93.[2] He was survived by his wife, four children, a sister, three stepsons, and four grandchildren.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1942 Rio Rita Hotel Laundry Boy Uncredited
1942 Grand Central Murder Whistling Messenger Uncredited
1942 The Affairs of Martha Newsboy Uncredited
1942 Who Done It? Organist Uncredited
1942 Whistling in Dixie Attendant Uncredited
1943 Keep 'Em Slugging Ape
1950 Katie Did It Chick Uncredited
1953 Walking My Baby Back Home Doc


  1. ^ a b Lentz, Harris III (February 2017). "Norman Abbott, 93". Classic Images. p. 49.
  2. ^ a b c Saperstein, Pat (July 12, 2016). "Norman Abbott, Veteran Sitcom Director, Dies at 93". Variety. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  3. ^ a b Foster, Ernest (August 18, 1942). "Hollywood Roundup". Republican-Northwestern. Illinois, Belvidere. United Press. p. 4. Retrieved February 28, 2017 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  
  4. ^ a b c d Barnes, Mike (July 13, 2016). "Norman Abbott, TV Director and Brainchild Behind Broadway's 'Sugar Babies,' Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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