December 5, 1891|
Buffalo, New York
|Died||June 18, 1937
Los Angeles, California
He is credited with helping to create stand-up comedy when he teamed with then-youthful vaudeville performer Jack Benny, helping develop Benny's familiar, reactive skinflint and thus helping make Benny a major star when he transitioned to radio in 1932. In fact, on the last day before his death, Boasberg wrote the lines that introduced the enduring Rochester character on Benny's radio show.
Similarly, Boasberg defined the enduring personalities of Bob Hope, Burns and Allen, Wheeler and Woolsey and Leon Errol. He was one of the early "script doctors", earning $1,000 a week to punch up radio scripts.
Boasberg also wrote for 47 films between 1926 and 1937—especially 1935's A Night at the Opera, which provided The Marx Brothers with a commercial comeback on the screen. Another Marxian, the comedy producer Sid Kuller, started out as a ghost-gag-writer for Boasberg.
A personality conflict with the producer, led to Boasberg's name being removed from A Day at the Races which was his original project.
He was born in Buffalo, New York in a Jewish family and died in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. Al Boasberg was the uncle of James Michaels.
- A Day at the Races (1937)
- A Night at the Opera (1935)
- Jail Birds of Paradise (1934)
- Freaks (1932)
- Cracked Nuts (1931)
- Fifty Million Frenchmen (1931)
- Chasing Rainbows (1930)
- Speedy (1928)
- The General (1926)
- Al Boasberg Birth Certificate.
- Vosburgh, Dick, "Obituary: Sid Kuller", The Independent (People), London, 31 October 1993.
- The Al Boasberg Comedy Award: The Boasberg http://www.buffalofilmfestival.com/festivalinformation/alboasbergaward.html
- Rickmann, Gregg (2004). The Film Comedy Reader. New York: Limelight Editions. ISBN 978-0-87910-295-1.