Lou Costello

Lou Costello

He and partner Bud Abbott made their debut as a comedy team in One Night in the Tropics (1940), although Costello had appeared in several silent films in the late 1920s as a stuntman and extra.

He and partner Bud Abbott were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2008 for their services and contributions to arts and entertainment.

He had a habit of taking home any prop or furniture item from a set that took his fancy. During filming of Hit the Ice (1943), director Charles Lamont went back to reshoot some scenes that took place at an ice-skating rink only to discover that all the wrought-iron patio furniture at the rink was gone--Costello took it home with him when he finished shooting the scene the previous day. An arrangement was worked out whereby Costello brought back the furniture, the scene was reshot, and then Costello took the furniture back home with him.

He had always suspected Universal Pictures of cheating him and partner Bud Abbott out of some of the profits of their pictures, but he could never prove it (that was one reason he didn't feel guilty about taking home expensive props from the sets of films he was shooting at Universal). One day his manager stopped into a photo supply store in Hollywood to buy some film for his camera and noticed a display that was selling 8mm film clips from films featuring Abbott & Costello that he had never heard of. Upon further investigation, he discovered that Universal was lifting scenes from A&C's early films, retitling them, selling them for the then burgeoning home 8mm market and not paying Abbott & Costello anything, which was in clear violation of its contracts with them. The team sued Universal and received a hefty out-of-court settlement.

He had only one starring role in a feature film without Bud Abbott, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959). He died before it was released.

He learned of son Lou Costello Jr.'s death in a swimming-pool accident just moments before going on the air to do his radio show with Bud Abbott. However, being the old-school professional who believed that "the show must go on", he went right out and did the show without a hitch. Once they were finished, he went over in a corner and passed out.

He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6438 Hollywood Boulevard, for Radio at 6780 Hollywood Boulevard, and for Television at 6276 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

Interred at Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA (Main Mausoleum, Block 354, Crypt B-1).

Lou Costello invented the very first commercial automatic ice machine. He planned to market it but lost money on the deal.

Mentioned his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, at least once in every one of his films.

November 1943: His only son, Lou Costello Jr., drowned in the swimming pool of the family home just days before his first birthday. Lou never got over it, blaming his wife -- who was home at the time and didn't see the boy wander out into the back yard and fall into the pool -- for the tragedy. Although they didn't divorce -- they were both Italian Catholics, for whom divorce at the time was unthinkable -- it put a permanent damper on their marriage.

Pictured on one of five 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating famous comedians, issued in booklet form 29 August 1991. He is shown with partner Bud Abbott. The stamp designs were drawn by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. The other comedians honored in the set are Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy; Edgar Bergen (with alter ego Charlie McCarthy); Jack Benny; and Fanny Brice.

Radio catchphrase: "I'm a bad boy."

September 2003: Montclair State University in New Jersey dedicated a building in its new residence hall complex as "Abbott and Costello Center", after Lou and his partner Bud Abbott.

Son of associate producer Sebastian Cristillo.

The performance of "Who's on First?" in the film The Naughty Nineties (1945) is considered the quintessential version of the routine, and the clip is enshrined in a looped video at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Was to have starred in a film based on the life of former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. The project was still in the talking stages at the time of his death.

With Bud Abbott, starred on ABC (1941-1946) and NBC (1946-1949) Radio's "The Abbott and Costello Show."