Bob Fosse Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (7)  | Trivia (34)  | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (5)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Washington, District of Columbia, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameRobert Louis Fosse
Nicknames Bobbie
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Bob Fosse was born on June 23, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Robert Louis Fosse. He is known for his work on Cabaret (1972), Lenny (1974) and All That Jazz (1979). He was married to Gwen Verdon, Joan McCracken and Mary Ann Niles. He died on September 23, 1987 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA.

Spouse (3)

Gwen Verdon (1 April 1960 - 23 September 1987) ( his death) ( 1 child)
Joan McCracken (1951 - 1959) ( divorced)
Mary Ann Niles (1949 - 1951) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (7)

In most of his choreographed sequences, you will see him or his proteges wearing a hat/gloves.
Highly stylized, sexual dance choreography
Known publicly and in private as a ladies' man
Tended to feature protagonists who were dancers or performers
Distinctive choreography featuring jazz hands and turned in knees
Rarely seen without cigarette hanging from mouth
Frequently collaborated with wife Gwen Verdon

Trivia (34)

Received three Emmy Awards in 1973 for Producing, Directing and Choreographing the television special Liza with a Z (1972) starring Liza Minnelli.
Separated from Gwen Verdon in to 1970s, but remained married to her until his death. In the interim, he was romantically involved with Ann Reinking and Jessica Lange.
Father (with Gwen Verdon) of Nicole Fosse.
Choreographer, screenwriter (besides director).
In 1973, he received an Academy Award for directing Cabaret (1972), a Tony Award for directing "Pippin", and an Emmy Award for directing Liza with a Z (1972). He's the only director to win all three major industry prizes in a single year.
Was planning on making a film version of his Broadway hit "Chicago", with Madonna (a film version is once again in the works, thanks to the success of the Broadway revival), as well as a film about the life of Walter Winchell.
Was at times slated to choreograph and direct several Broadway hits, including "Funny Girl" and "Promises, Promises".
Throughout his career, he was always listed in the Manhattan phone directory.
In most of his choreographed pieces, he (or those dancing his choreography) usually wore a hat and gloves. Fosse always wore hats because he started going bald at the age of 17; he used gloves a lot because he didn't like his hands.
Fosse was born in Chicago in 1927, which was the setting and time period for his famous 1975 musical, "Chicago", starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach.
Fosse has unintentionally competed with Francis Ford Coppola on several occasions. Both were up for the 1972 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for The Godfather (1972) and Fosse for Cabaret (1972); Fosse won). Both were up for the 1974 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Fosse for Lenny (1974); Coppola won). Both were up for the 1979 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for Apocalypse Now (1979) and Fosse for All That Jazz (1979); neither won). Also, when Fosse's film won the Palme D'or at the Cannes film festival in 1980 (Coppola won the previous year for Apocalypse Now (1979)), he tied with the Akira Kurosawa film Kagemusha (1980), which had two Americans as executive producers: George Lucas and Coppola.
His idol was Fred Astaire.
He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Theatre Choreographer with Ann Reinking for "Fosse" at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
Won seven Tony Awards out of 15 nominations, placing him just one win behind record-holder Gower Champion, who also had the same number of nominations. Fosse's wins were, as Best Choreographer: in 1955, for "The Pajama Game"; in 1956, for "Damn Yankees!"; in 1959, for "Redhead"; in 1963, for "Little Me"; in 1966, for "Sweet Charity"; in 1973 for "Pippin"; and as Best Director (Musical): in 1973, for "Pippin". His other Tony nominations were: as Best Choreographer, in 1957, with Jerome Robbins for "Bells Are Ringing"; in 1958, for "New Girl in Town"; and in 1976 for "Chicago"; as Director (Musical): in 1963, with Cy Feuer for "Little Me"; in 1966 for "Sweet Charity"; and in 1976 for "Chicago"; as Best Actor (Musical), in 1964 for a City Center revival of "Pal Joey"; and as Best Book (Musical), in 1976 with Fred Ebb for "Chicago".
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 302-304. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Directed five actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine and Roy Scheider. Minnelli and Grey won for their performances in Cabaret (1972).
Son of a vaudevillian, he performed on stage in burlesque while in his early teens.
After 1945, formed a dance partnership (mixing ballet with tap), with his then-wife, Mary Ann Niles, performing at nightclubs and in stage musicals.
Pictured on one of a set of 4 USA 'forever' commemorative postage stamps featuring Innovative Choreographers, issued 28 July 2012. Others honored in this issue were Isadora Duncan, José Limon and Katherine Dunham. Price on day of issue was 45¢.
Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1979.
Fosse died on 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. on the corner closest to the J.W. Marriott Hotel of a heart attack. He was walking from the Willard Hotel across the street to the National Theater a block away to direct one of his stage plays.
Was best friends with screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky.
Was acting mentor to actress Melanie Griffith.
"Chicago" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded he 1998 Back Stage Garland Award for Outstanding Production.
"Chicago," at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1998 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Musical (Large Theatre).
He and Ann Reinking were awarded the 1999 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Choreography for "Fosse" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
The cast of "Fosse" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1998 Back Stage Garland Award for Outstanding Ensemble.
"Fosse" on Broadway in New York City was nominated for the 1999 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Musical. (Richard Maltby Jr. Chet Walker and Ann Reinking).
"Fosse" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1998 Back Stage Garland Award for Outstanding Production.
He was portrayed by Sam Rockwell in the 2019 FX original series, "Fosse/Verdon".
Wanted to be taken seriously as a director and decided to avoid musicals after working on Lenny. Eventually was coaxed by Gwen Verdon to work on Chicago.
Insisted the character of Joe Gideon in All that Jazz, who was based off of him, have a full head of hair. Fosse was very insecure of his own hair loss.
Despite separating in 1971, he and Gwen Verdon remained close and continued working together. His muse, Ann Reinking, would eventually become good friends with Verdon.
He and Gwen Verdon were good friends with Neil Simon and his first wife Joan Baim.

Personal Quotes (16)

I thank God that I wasn't born perfect.
Live like you'll die tomorrow, work like you don't need the money, and dance like nobody's watching.
I'm still working on my life, just like it's out of town, and when I get it fixed, I'll bring it in.
Don't dance for the audience; dance for yourself.
I would never discriminate against someone's talent because they showed the poor taste to like me.
In today's world, everything seems like some sort of long audition.
It's showtime, folks!
Dance expresses joy better than anything else.
They may not know what I'm doing, but they know I'm doing something!
I like attractive people who aren't so terribly aware that they are attractive... people who aren't afraid to roll on the floor and make fools out of themselves.
If you think you can do better, then do better. Don't compete with anyone, just yourself. When you are in trouble or have a dilemma, ask yourself, "What's the important thing?". And when you wake up in the morning, ask yourself how you can be a better person, not just a better performer.
[on working with Valerie Perrine on Lenny (1974)] Quite simply, she is the best actress I have ever directed.
People have used the word "self-indulgent" about [All That Jazz (1979)] but critics are constantly saying that an artist should draw more from himself and less from others. This is what I've done. So why do I get this reaction? It frightens me.
[on the chances of an Oscar for All That Jazz (1979)] I'm such a long shot. I think anyone who bets on me should get a toaster, like they give out in banks, for having made the investment.
The time to sing is when your emotional level is too high to just speak anymore, and the time to dance is when your emotions are just too strong to only sing about how you feel.
I give my relationships two weeks now. Sometimes I bring it in ahead of deadline.

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