Abe Burrows (December 18, 1910 – May 17, 1985) was a noted author and director for the stage, particularly Broadway.
He began as a protege of Ed Gardner, the creator-writer-star of radio legend Duffy's Tavern, and Burrows credited his experience writing for that show for investing the Runyonesque street characters he fashioned for Guys and Dolls. "The people on that show," Burrows once said about Duffy's Tavern, "were New York mugs, nice mugs, sweet mugs, and like (Damon) Runyon's mugs they all talked like ladies and gentlemen. That's how we treated the characters in Guys and Dolls. He also wrote for Danny Kaye's short-lived mid-1940s radio comedy show, helping head writer Goodman Ace fashion material for Kaye and co-stars Eve Arden and Lionel Stander.
He hosted his own radio program on CBS in 1948. The Abe Burrows Show was a 15-minute weekly comedy show written, starring, and directed by Abe Burrows.
Burrows's stage writing credits also include plays and libretti for such hits as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cactus Flower, Can-Can, Silk Stockings, Breakfast At Tiffany's and many others. He was a famous script doctor, and the desperate call of a producer, "Get me Abe Burrows!", remains Broadway shorthand for a script that needs repair. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1956 film, Solid Gold Cadillac.
His son, James Burrows, is an influential television director whose credits have included The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers---the latter a show the younger Burrows helped create as well, a show whose setting of a neighbourhood bar populated with quirky locals was a direct descendant of the radio show that helped launch his father's distinguished career.