What Happened To Bob Fosse ?

What Happened To Bob Fosse ?

Robert Louis Fosse (/ˈfɒsi/; June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) was an American actor, choreographer, dancer, and film and stage director.[2] He directed and choreographed musical works on stage and screen, including the stage musicals The Pajama Game (1954), Damn Yankees (1955), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961), Sweet Charity (1966), Pippin (1972) , and Chicago (1975). His films include Sweet Charity (1969), Cabaret (1972), Lenny (1975), All That Jazz (1979), and Star 80 (1983).

Fosse’s distinctive style of choreography included turned-in knees and “jazz hands”. He is the only person ever to have won Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year (1973). He was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning Best Director for Cabaret, and won the Palme D’Or in 1980 for All That Jazz. He won a record eight Tonys for his choreography, as well as one for direction for Pippin.

Early life

Fosse was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 23, 1927, to a Norwegian-American father, Cyril Kingsley Fosse, a traveling salesman for The Hershey Company,[3] and an American mother of Irish descent, Sarah Alice “Sadie” (née Stanton) Fosse. He is the fifth child in a family of six children. [2] [4] [5]

He was drawn to dancing and taking lessons. At the age of 13, Fosse performed professionally in Chicago with Charles Grass, under the name “Riff Brothers”. [6] They toured the Chicago variety and movie theater, as well as the USO theaters and the Eagles Club. [7] Many of these performances include performances at popular clubs, such as Silver Cloud and Cave of Winds. Fosse himself is quoted as saying “I’m sixteen and I’ve played the whole wheel of complexity”. However, many women and supporters don’t care that Fosse is underage working in adult clubs or that he will be subjected to sexual harassment from burly women. that he sees will inform his future work. In 1943, at the age of 15, Fosse would choreograph his first dance and get his first full credit as a choreographer in the film Hold Evry’thing! A streamlined two-part ball, in which girls wore strapless dresses and performed a fan dance, inspired by his time in stylish homes. [8]

After graduating from high school in 1945, Fosse was commissioned into the United States Navy at the end of World War II at Naval Station Great Lakes, where he was sent to prepare for combat. Fosse asked his manager, Frederick Weaver, to advocate for his superiors on his behalf after his failed attempts to get into the Special Service Recreation Department. [8] Fosse was soon featured on the television show Tough Situation, which toured military and naval bases in the Pacific. [citation needed]

After being discharged from the army, Fosse moved to New York City in 1947 with the ambition of becoming the new Fred Astaire. He began studying acting at the American Theater Wing, where he met his first wife and dance partner, Mary Ann Niles (1923-1987). [9] His first acting role was in Call Me Mister, alongside Niles. [10] Fosse and Niles were regular performers on Your Hit Parade during the 1950–1951 season. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis watched their action at the Pierre Hotel in New York and scheduled the pair to appear on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1951. [11]

In a 1986 interview, Fosse told an interviewer, “Jerry made me do choreography. He gave me my first job as a choreographer and I’m grateful for that. ” [twelfth]

Fosse was signed to MGM in 1953. [13] His early screen appearances as a dancer included Give a Girl a Break, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and Kiss Me Kate , all of which were released in 1953. Fosse’s choreography of a short cut in Kiss Me Kate and dancing with Carol Haney caught his attention. of Broadway producers. [14]



Fosse’s final film, Star 80 (1983), was a biographical movie about Dorothy Stratten, a Playboy Playmate who was murdered. The film is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning article. The film was screened out of competition at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.[27]

In 1986, Fosse wrote, choreographed and directed the Broadway production of Big Deal, which was nominated for five Tony awards, winning for best choreography, as well as five more for the revival of Sweet Charity at the nearby Minskoff Theater, winning a Tony for Best Revival.[8]

Fosse began work on a film about gossip columnist Walter Winchell that would have starred Robert De Niro as Winchell. The Winchell script was written by Michael Herr. Fosse died before starting the Winchell project.

Personal life

Fosse married dance partner Mary Ann Niles (1923–1987) on May 3, 1947, in Detroit. [30] In 1952, a year after his divorce from Niles, he married dancer Joan McCracken of New York City; [31] This marriage lasted until 1959, when it also ended in divorce. [32]

His third wife was dancer and actress Gwen Verdon, whom he met choreographing the Dam Yankees, in which she played the lead role. [33] In 1963, they had a daughter, Nicole Fosse, who later became a dancer and actress. Fosse’s extramarital affairs put a strain on the marriage and in 1971 they separated, although they remained legally married until his death in 1987. Verdon never remarried. [19] [34] [35]

Fosse met dancer Ann Reinking during Pippin’s run in 1972. According to Reinking, their romantic relationship ended “at the end of Dancin’s run” (1978). [36]

In 1961, Fosse’s epilepsy was discovered when he had a seizure on stage during a rehearsal for The Conquer Hero. [19]

Fosse’s time outside of the gym or theater is rarely alone. As stated in Sam Wasson’s biography of Fosse, “the nights when only Fosse was killed”. To alleviate the loneliness and insomnia caused by the amphetamine use he prescribes, Fosse often contacts the dancers he will be working with and tries to date them, making it difficult for many to turn down the offers. his word of progress, but also gave him the affirmation of the success he had been looking for. [8 ]

Throughout their joint career, Fosse was repeatedly blamed by critics while Gwen Verdon would receive praise, no matter how much influence Verdon had on the production. However, Verdon always cared about him and the Fosse family image, hosting lavish cast parties and serving as Fosse’s private press secretary throughout their marriage. [8]


Fosse died of a heart attack on September 23, 1987, at George Washington University Hospital while the revival of Sweet Charity was opening at the nearby National Theatre.[2] He had collapsed in Verdon’s arms near the Willard Hotel.[37]

As he had requested, Verdon and Nicole Fosse scattered his ashes in the Atlantic Ocean off Quogue, Long Island, where Fosse had been living with his girlfriend of four years.[1]

A month after his passing, Verdon fulfilled Fosse’s request for his friends to “go out and have dinner on me” by hosting a star-studded, celebrity filled evening at Tavern on the Green