Bob Fosse

(23 June 1927 –23 September 1987)

Fosse
Fosse
Bob-Fosse
Bob-Fosse
pajama
pajama
Bob-Fosse-with-Viveca-Lindfors
Bob-Fosse-with-Viveca-Lindfors
Chicago_original_poster_art
Chicago_original_poster_art
NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail

Bob Fosse is a director and choreographer who forever changed the way audiences around the world viewed dance on the stage and in the film industry in the late 20th century. Visionary, intense, and unbelievably driven, Fosse was an artist whose work was always provocative, entertaining, and quite unlike anything ever before seen.

Fosse immersed himself in tap dancing from a young age; by the time he reached high school he was dancing professionally in vaudeville and burlesque shows. After completing his two year duty in the navy, Fosse moved to New York. For the next seven years, Fosse went through two rocky marriages with dancers Mary Ann Niles and Joan McCracken, all the while performing in variety shows on stage and on television. He had a few minor Broadway chorus parts, but his big break came with his brief appearance in the 1953 MGM movie musical KISS ME, KATE. Fosse caught the immediate attention of two of Broadway’s acknowledged masters: George Abbott and Jerome Robbins.

By 1960, Fosse was a nationally known and respected choreographer. Yet Fosse struggled with many of his producers and directors, who wished him to tone down or remove the “controversial” parts of his dances. Tired of subverting his artistic vision for the sake of “being proper,” Fosse realized that he needed to be the director as well as the choreographer in order to have control over his dances.

From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, Fosse created a number of ground-breaking stage musicals and films. These works reflected the desire for sexual freedom that was being expressed across America and were huge successes as a result. Cabaret was Fosse’s biggest public success and won eight Academy Awards. Fosse also had great success on Broadway; “Pippin” (1972) became the highest earning Broadway show in history, as well as the first Broadway show to advertise on national television.

Two stage musicals followed: “Chicago” (1975) and “Dancin’” (1978). During rehearsals for “Chicago,” Fosse suffered a heart attack. He survived and used much of that traumatic experience in 1979 in his semi autobiographical dance film ALL THAT JAZZ. After a rehearsal for the revival of “Sweet Charity,” Fosse suffered a massive heart attack and died on the way to the hospital. Fosse’s contribution to American entertainment continued after his death via show revivals and dance classes. His most prominent contribution was through the body of his work recorded on film and video.