Burrows, Abe, 1910-1985

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1910-12-18
Death 1985-05-17
Americans

Biographical notes:

Abe Burrows (1910-1985), pulitzer prize-winning playwright, lyricist, director, screenwriter, comedian and play doctor was born Abram S. Burrows on December 18, 1910 in New York City to Louis and Julia Burrows.

He graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn and attended City College and New York University first in a pre-med program and then studying accounting. In 1931 he was hired by a brokerage firm on Wall Street where he worked for three years. He then worked in his father's paint business and as a traveling salesman for a maple syrup firm. During summers he was a popular entertainer in the Catskills and found he enjoyed making a living with his humor.

Burrows began selling radio sketches in 1938 and for four years was a writer for Ed Gardner's DUFFY'S TAVERN, 1941-1945. He also wrote pieces for CBS TEXACO THEATER, THE JOAN DAVIS SHOW, and THE FORD PROGRAM. In Hollywood he became a hit at exclusive parties with his satirical songs and recitations with titles such as THE GIRL WITH THE THREE BLUE EYES and I'M WALKING DOWN MEMORY LANE WITHOUT A SINGLE THING TO REMEMBER. During the course of his career, he appeared on many radio and TV programs, recorded two albums of songs and published AN ABE BURROWS SONGBOOK. In 1948 and 1949 he toured the country performing in nightclubs and also had his own radio shows: THE ABE BURROWS SHOW and BREAKFAST WITH BURROWS.

Burrows' biggest hits, however, were in the world of musical theater. At CBS in Hollywood he had worked for Ernest Martin who later joined with Cy Feuer to produce GUYS AND DOLLS. It was Martin who brought Burrows to work on the Broadway show. The GUYS AND DOLLS that opened in November 1950 with book and lyrics by Burrows and music by Frank Loesser, was an award-winning production and major hit that ran for years and was revived in London, on Broadway and on school stages around the country. Burrows' other major hit, again with Frank Loesser, was HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1962.

From 1950 on Burrows' work was primarily for the Broadway stage as writer, director or both. In 1951 he doctored the musical MAKE A WISH, an adaption of Ferenc Molnar's THE GOOD FAIRY, and directed the revue, TWO ON THE AISLE. In 1952 he was writer and director for THREE WISHES FOR JAMIE which he adapted with Charles O'Neal, in 1953 he wrote and directed CAN-CAN, and in 1954 he directed RECLINING FIGURE. He adapted the screenplay of NINOTCHKA for the Cole Porter musical SILK STOCKINGS and wrote the screenplay for SOLID GOLD CADILLAC in 1955 and collaborated with Harry Kurnitz on ONCE MORE WITH FEELING in 1957 and with Richard and Marion Bissell on SAY, DARLING which he also directed in 1958. He was also writer and director for FIRST IMPRESSIONS, an adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and director of GOLDEN FLEECING in 1959, for CACTUS FLOWER, 1965, for HOLLY GOLIGHTLY, 1966, a musical theater remake of the film BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S which closed before its Broadway opening, and for FOUR ON A GARDEN, 1971 . His other directing credits include HAPPY HUNTING, GOLDEN FLEECING, WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?, FORTY CARATS, and NO HARD FEELINGS. He was a director for GOOD NEWS, 1974 and co-writer and director for HELLZAPOPPIN', 1976, but left both shows before their openings. He also did some directing work on the show FORTY-SECOND STREET in 1981.

Burrows married his first wife Ruth in 1936. The couple had two children: James born in 1940 and Laurie in 1944, and were divorced in 1948. He married Carin Smith on October 2, 1950. Abe Burrows died on May 17, 1985 after a long illness.

From the description of Abe Burrows papers, 1904-1993. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122626171

Abe Burrows (1910-1985) was a playwright, director and radio personality.

Born in New York City, he began in radio as a writer for shows such as "Texaco Star Theatre," "Duffy's Tavern," and "The Joan Davis Show." He hosted two of his own radio shows, "The Abe Burrows Show" (CBS, 1946-47) and "Breakfast with Burrows" (CBS, 1949). He often appeared as a guest on television shows such as "PM East" and "The Dinah Shore Show."

Burrows started his entertainment career by performing satirical songs at Hollywood parties. These songs became the basis for his radio shows, where he would perform them along with witty commentary about the issues of the day. After radio, he became a prominent Broadway director. He also wrote the books for many successful shows, including "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

From the description of Abe Burrows collection of sound recordings [sound recording]. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517030

Abe Burrows, playwright, lyricist, director, screenwriter, comedian and play doctor was born Abram S. Burrows on December 18, 1910 in New York City to Louis and Julia Burrows. His father was in the paint and wallpaper business. He graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn and attended City College and New York University first in a pre-med program and then studying accounting. In 1931 he was hired by a brokerage firm on Wall Street where he worked for three years. He then worked in his father's paint business and as a traveling salesman for a maple syrup firm. During summers he was a popular entertainer in the Catskills and found he enjoyed making a living with his humor.

Burrows began selling radio sketches in 1938 and for four years was a writer for Ed Gardner's Duffy's Tavern, 1941-1945 . He also wrote pieces for CBS Texaco Theater, The Joan Davis Show, and The Ford Program . In Hollywood he became a hit at exclusive parties with his satirical songs and recitations with titles such as The Girl with the Three Blue Eyes and I'm Walking down Memory Lane without a Single Thing to Remember . During the course of his career, he appeared on many radio and TV programs, recorded two albums of songs and published An Abe Burrows Songbook . In 1948 and 1949 he toured the country performing in nightclubs and also had his own radio shows: The Abe Burrows Show and Breakfast with Burrows .

Burrows' biggest hits, however, were in the world of musical theater. At CBS in Hollywood he had worked for Ernest Martin who later joined with Cy Feuer to produce Guys and Dolls . It was Martin who brought Burrows to work on the Broadway show. The Guys and Dolls that opened in November 1950 with book and lyrics by Burrows and music by Frank Loesser, was an award-winning production and major hit that ran for years and was revived in London, on Broadway and on school stages around the country. Burrows' other major hit, again with Frank Loesser, was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1962 .

From 1950 on Burrows' work was primarily for the Broadway stage as writer, director or both. In 1951 he doctored the musical Make a Wish, an adaption of Ferenc Molnar's The Good Fairy, and directed the revue, Two on the Aisle . In 1952 he was writer and director for Three Wishes for Jamie which he adapted with Charles O'Neal, in 1953 he wrote and directed Can-Can, and in 1954 he directed Reclining Figure . He adapted the screenplay of Ninotchka for the Cole Porter musical Silk Stockings and wrote the screenplay for Solid Gold Cadillac in 1955 and collaborated with Harry Kurnitz on Once More with Feeling in 1957 and with Richard and Marion Bissell on Say, Darling which he also directed in 1958 . He was also writer and director for First Impressions, an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and director of Golden Fleecing in 1959, for Cactus Flower, 1965, for Holly Golightly, 1966, a musical theater remake of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's which closed before its Broadway opening, and for Four on a Garden, 1971 . His other directing credits include Happy Hunting, Golden Fleecing, What Makes Sammy Run?, Forty Carats, and No Hard Feelings . He was a director for Good News, 1974 and co-writer and director for Hellzapoppin', 1976, but left both shows before their openings. He also did some directing work on the show Forty-Second Street in 1981 .

Burrows married his first wife Ruth in 1936. The couple had two children: James born in 1940 and Laurie in 1944, and were divorced in 1948. He married Carin Smith on October 2, 1950. Abe Burrows died on May 17, 1985 after a long illness.

From the guide to the Abe Burrows papers, 1904-1993, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Abe Burrows was a composer, librettist, director, author and comic. His career spanned decades, beginning in the 1930s. He worked in radio, television and the stage. He is best known for writing the book for Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying .

He was born the oldest son of Louis and Julia Borowitz on December 18, 1910 in New York City. He graduated from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn in 1928. He attended college, but didn't graduate.

Burrows collaborated with Frank Gaylen on nightclub acts and radio scripts and in 1941 helped create the successful CBS radio hit, Duffy's Tavern . He had his own show, The Abe Burrows Show, playing piano, singing songs and performing skits. Beginning in 1949 he worked with Frank Loesser and Jo Swerling on several Broadway musicals.

In later life, Burrows wrote an autobiography titled, Honest Abe . His first marriage to Ruth Levinson lasted twelve years and produced two children, James and Laurie. In 1950 he married his second wife, Carin Smith Kinzel. Abe Burrows died of Alzheimer's disease in 1985.

Source: Abe Burrows, Broadway Writer-Director, is Dead, New York Times, 1985 May 19 Abe Burrows, Won Pulitzer Prize for "How To Succeed in Business", Boston Globe, 1985 May 19 Abe Burrows, http://en.wikipedia.org/wike/Abe_Burrows

From the guide to the Abe Burrows scores, 1947-1949, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Abe Burrows (1910-1985) was a playwright, director and radio personality. Born in New York City, he began in radio as a writer for shows such as Texaco Star Theatre, Duffy's Tavern, and the Joan Davis Show . He hosted two of his own radio shows, The Abe Burrows Show (CBS, 1946-47) and Breakfast with Burrows (CBS, 1949). He often appeared as a guest on television shows such as PM East and the Dinah Shore Show .

Burrows started his entertainment career by performing satirical songs at Hollywood parties. These songs became the basis for his radio shows, where he would perform them along with witty commentary about the issues of the day. After radio, he became a prominent Broadway director. He also wrote the books for many successful shows, including Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying .

From the guide to the Abe Burrows collection of sound recordings [sound recording], (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

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Subjects:

  • Humorous songs
  • Theatrical producers and directors
  • Musical theater
  • Musical theater--New York (State)--New York
  • Theater--New York (State)--New York
  • Radio writers
  • Theater--New York
  • Television talk shows
  • Radio scripts
  • Talk shows
  • Theater
  • Radio programs
  • Musical theater--New York

Occupations:

  • Composers
  • Librettists
  • Comedians
  • Dramatists
  • Lyricists

Places:

  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)