Bob Fosse : 1927 - 1987
One of musical theater's greatest choreographers and directors, Bob Fosse began his career as a hoofer in vaudeville and an emcee in strip clubs where he could closely observe the sleaze that became part of his style. He went on to direct and choreograph well known plays and films such as The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Pippin, Cabaret and his (mostly) autobiography All That Jazz.
In most of his pieces, Fosse, or those dancing his choreography, would wear 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.
In 1954, Fosse's staging of Steam Heat was the talk of New York, and The Pajama Game became a huge hit. From 1954 onward, he was the toast of both Broadway and Hollywood, until his death in 1987.
Some pithy quotes attributed to Bob Fosse :
"Dance expresses joy better than anything else."
"Live like you'll die tomorrow, work like you don't need the money, and dance like nobody's watching."
"I can't make you a great dancer; I don't even know if I can make you good dancer. But if you keep trying, I know I can make you a better dancer."
"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."
A time line of Fosse's life :
- June 23, 1927
- Robert Louis Fosse is born in Chicago, Illinois
- Tours with his own dance act : The Riff Brothers
- Choreographs a night-club number, in which girls manipulate strategically-placed ostrich feathers to Cole Porter's That Old Black Magic.
- Somewhere in here, he's in the Navy
- Fosse begins two years in acting school
- Fosse begins two years in the chorus of Call Me Mister
- Marries Mary Ann Niles
- Fosse appears on Broadway in the revue Dance Me A Song
- Divorces Mary Ann Niles
- Marries Joan McCracken
- Appears on Broadway in Pal Joey
- Appears as Bianca's suitor, Hortensio in Kiss Me Kate, as Charlie Trask in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and as Bob Dowdy in Give A Girl A Break
- Fosse Choreographs the play The Pajama Game, which was a big hit. Begins the big star part of his life.
- Choreographs the play Damn Yankees on Broadway. Gwen Vernon plays Lola, and is the leading lady in most of Fosse's shows thereafter. He'll marry her five years from now.
- Choreographer for the film My Sister Eileen, in which he plays the part of Frank Lippencott
- Choreographs the play Bells Are Ringing
- Choreographs the play New Girl In Town
- Choreographs the film The Pajama Game
- Choreographs the film Damn Yankees
- Choreographs the play Redhead
- Divorces Joan McCracken
- Marries Gwen Verdon
- Choreographs the play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- Directs and choreographs the play Little Me
- Fathers Nicole Fosse
- 1969 or maybe 1966
- Choreographer and overlord for the film Sweet Charity, which flops.
- Directs and choreographs the play Pippin
- Directs and choreographs the film Cabaret
- Directs and choreographs TV movie Singer Presents Liza with a Z
- Wins NBR (National Board of Review) Award for
Best Director for Cabaret
- Wins an Oscar for Best Director for Cabaret
- Wins a BAFTA Film Award for Best Direction for Cabaret
- Wins Bodil Award for Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for Cabaret
- Wins DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award for
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical/Variety for Singer Presents Liza with a Z
- Wins Three Emmys for directing, producing and choreographing Singer Presents Liza with a Z
- Appears in and choreographs the file The Little Prince
- Directs a tribute to comedian Lenny Bruce, in the non-musical film Lenny
- Directs and choreographs the play Liza
- Directs and choreographs the play Chicago
- Suffers a heart attack
- Separates from Gwen Verdon
- Appears in the documentary That's Entertainment, Part II
- Appears as Mr. Day in Thieves
- Directs and choreographs the play Dancin'
- Writes, directs and choreographs his own (semi) autobiography, the film All That Jazz
- Wins a Golden Palm for All That Jazz
- Wins a Bodil Award for
Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film) for All That Jazz
- Writes and directs the film Star 80
- Plays himself in the documentary Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret
- Writes, directs and choreographs the play Big Deal
- September 23, 1987
- Dies at age 60 in Washington, D.C. of a heart attack.
- Widows Gwen Verdon