Chicago, Illinois, USA
Place of Death
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Cause of Death
Stage & Screen
Stage & Screen, Show Tunes, Cast Recordings, Classical
Other Crew, Soundtrack, Actor/Actress
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) was an American musical theater choreographer and director, and a film director. He won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. He was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning for his direction of Cabaret.
Fosse was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Norwegian father and Irish mother, the youngest of six children. He teamed up with Charles Grass, another young dancer, and began a collaboration under the name The Riff Brothers. They toured theatres throughout the Chicago area.
Eventually Fosse was hired for the show Tough Situation, which toured military and naval bases in the Pacific. He later said that he had perfected his technique as a performer, choreographer, and director while serving his tour of duty.
Fosse moved to Hollywood with the ambition of being the next Fred Astaire. His early screen appearances included Give A Girl A Break, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and Kiss Me, Kate, all released in 1953. A short sequence that he choreographed in the latter (and danced with Carol Haney) brought him to the attention of Broadway producers.
Although Fosse`s career in film was cut short by premature balding, which limited the roles he could take, he was reluctant to move from Hollywood to theatre. In 1954, he choreographed his first musical, The Pajama Game, followed by Damn Yankees in 1955. It was while he was working on the latter show that he first met Gwen Verdon.
Fosse developed a jazz dance style that was immediately recognizable, exuding a stylized, cynical sexuality. Other notable distinctions of his style included the use of inward knees, rounded shoulders and body isolations.
With Fred Astaire as an influence, he used props such as bowler hats, canes and chairs. His trademark use of hats was influenced by his own self-consciousness. According to Martin Gottfried in his biography of Fosse, "His baldness was the reason that he wore hats, and was doubtless why he put hats on his dancers." He used gloves in his performances because he did not like his hands. His dance routines were intense and specific, yet had a simplicity to them.
Some of his most popular numbers include "Steam Heat" from The Pajama Game and "Big Spender" from Sweet Charity. The "Rich Man`s Frug" scene in "Sweet Charity" is another example of his signature style. The filmed routines in Cabaret (1972) are particularly characteristic of Fosse, the vulgar energy of vaudeville and burlesque updated and coolly contained within a slick, conscious sophistication.
Although he was replaced as the director/choregrapher for the short-lived 1961 musical The Conquering Hero, he quickly took on the job of choreographer of the 1961 musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 1986 he directed and choreographed the Broadway production Big Deal, which he also wrote.
Fosse directed five feature films. His first, Sweet Charity in 1969, was an adaptation of the Broadway musical. His second film, Cabaret, won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director. Fosse next directed Lenny in 1974, a biopic of the self-destructive comic Lenny Bruce; it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. In 1979, Fosse co-wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical All That Jazz, which won four Academy Awards and earned Fosse his third Oscar nomination for Best Director. It also won the Grand Prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Fosse`s final film, 1983`s Star 80, was a controversial biopic of slain Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten. It evoked mixed critical reaction, although Richard Schickel of TIME and Rex Reed gave it rave reviews, and it has acquired a strong cult following.
Fosse performed a memorable song and dance number in Stanley Donen`s 1974 film version of The Little Prince. In 1977, Fosse had a small role in the romantic comedy Thieves.
Fosse was an innovative choreographer and had multiple achievements in his life. For Damn Yankees, Fosse took a great deal of inspiration from the "father of theatrical jazz dance", Jack Cole. He also took influence from Jerome Robbins. New Girl in Town gave Fosse the inspiration to direct and choreograph his next piece because of the conflict of interest within the collaborators. During Redhead, Fosse utilized one of the first ballet sequences in a show that contained five different styles of dance; Fosse’s jazz, a cancan, a gypsy dance, a march, and an old-fashioned English music hall number."
His successes continued to flourish after this, and he contributed even more innovative ideas to the world of Broadway choreography. He utilized the idea of subtext and gave his dancers something to think about during their numbers. He also began the trend of allowing lighting to influence his work and direct the audience`s attention to certain things. During Pippin, Fosse made the fi
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Robert Louis Fosse
Cyril K. Fosse (Father was Norwegian)
Sarah Fosse (Mother was Irish)
Stanley Donen, Saul Chaplin, Arlene Dahl
Robert Louis "Bob" Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) was an American dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director, screenwriter, film director and actor.
Actor, choreographer, dancer, director, screenwriter
Amundsen High School: Chicago , Illinois
American Theatre Wing: New York , New York - 1947 - 1948
Claim to Fame
Oscar for Best Director 1973 for Cabaret
Brown - Dark
www.nndb.com/people/159/000032063/, ibdb.com/person.php?id=4563, www.masterworksbroadway.com/artist/bob-fosse, www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/64333|22625/Bob-Fosse/, www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6896653
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