Dolan, Robert Emmett, 1908-1972

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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.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Jay Presson, 1922- person
associatedWith American Guild of Variety Artists corporateBody
associatedWith American Music Collection corporateBody
associatedWith Barter Theatre corporateBody
associatedWith Benoff, Mac person
associatedWith Bissell, Richard Pike person
associatedWith Blane, Ralph, 1914- person
associatedWith Bobrick, Sam person
associatedWith Braden, Bernard, 1916- person
associatedWith Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956 person
associatedWith Burrows, Abe, 1910-1985. person
associatedWith Burrows, Carin person
associatedWith Carlisle, Kitty, 1915- person
associatedWith Crouse, Russel, 1893-1966 person
associatedWith Dinah Shore person
associatedWith Directors Guild of America corporateBody
associatedWith Drake, Ervin person
associatedWith Feuer, Cy person
associatedWith Fletcher, Robert, 1922- person
associatedWith Galante, Pierre person
associatedWith Gang, Martin person
associatedWith Gardner, Ed, 1901-1963 person
associatedWith Goetz, Ruth person
associatedWith Goldman, Robert person
associatedWith Goodson, Mark person
associatedWith Goss, E. Lyle person
associatedWith Hammerstein, Dorothy person
associatedWith Holliday, Judy person
associatedWith Hunter, Ian McLellan. person
associatedWith Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637. person
associatedWith Kahn, E. J. (Ely Jacques), 1916-1994 person
associatedWith Karr, Harold, 1921-1968 person
associatedWith Kazan, Molly, 1906-1963 person
associatedWith Kurnitz, Harry person
associatedWith Lardner, Ring, 1915-2000. person
associatedWith Lee, Robert Edwin, 1918- person
associatedWith Lewis, Arthur, 1916-1994 person
associatedWith Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951 person
associatedWith Loesser, Frank, 1910-1969 person
associatedWith Loesser, Lynn person
associatedWith Martin, Hugh, 1914- person
associatedWith Martin, Mary, 1913- person
associatedWith Mead, Shepherd person
associatedWith Mercer, Johnny, 1909-1976. person
associatedWith Negro Actors Guild of America corporateBody
associatedWith O'Connor, Edwin person
associatedWith Padula, Edward, 1916- person
associatedWith Perrin, Sam person
associatedWith Porter, Cole, 1891-1964 person
associatedWith Radio Writers Guild corporateBody
associatedWith Ritchard, Cyril, 1897-1977 person
associatedWith Rose, Billy, 1899-1966. person
associatedWith Salisbury, Leah, 1893-1975 person
associatedWith Sauter, Eddie. person
associatedWith Schaefer, Hal, 1925- person
associatedWith Schmidt, Lars R person
associatedWith Seldes, Gilbert, 1893-1970 person
associatedWith Semple, Lorenzo, Jr person
associatedWith Sheldon, Sidney. person
associatedWith Smith, Karl K person
associatedWith Styne, Jule, 1905-1994 person
associatedWith Teichmann, Howard person
associatedWith Todman, William S., 1918-1979 person
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities corporateBody
associatedWith Vallée, Rudy, 1901-1986 person
associatedWith We Love Abe Burrows Club of Northern California corporateBody
associatedWith Zolotow, Charlotte, 1915- person
associatedWith Zolotow, Maurice, 1913- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Humorous songs
Musical revues, comedies, etc.
Musical revues, comedies, etc.
Musical theater
Radio writers
Theatrical producers and directors


Birth 1906-08-03

Death 1972-09-26




Ark ID: w67d3p3w

SNAC ID: 59945399