Bob Fosse

Director, Choreographer, Screenwriter
Arguably one of the most influential and visionary choreographers of the 20th century, Bob Fosse brought style and sexuality to the Broadway stage through his dances for such memorable musicals as "The Pajama Game" ... Read more »
Born: 06/22/1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (11)

Bob Fosse: Steam Heat 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 41st Annual Tony Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Thieves 1977 (Movie)

Junky (Actor)

The Little Prince 1973 (Movie)

Snake (Actor)

Damn Yankees 1958 (Movie)

Mambo Dancer (Actor)

My Sister Eileen 1955 (Movie)

Frank Lippencott (Actor)

Give a Girl a Break 1953 (Movie)

Bob Dowdy (Actor)

Kiss Me Kate 1953 (Movie)

Hortensio (Actor)

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis 1952 (Movie)

Charlie Trask (Actor)
Director (6)

Star 80 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

All That Jazz 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Lenny 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Liza With a Z 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Director

Cabaret 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Sweet Charity 1969 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (3)

Chicago 2002 (Movie)

(from musical play: "Chicago") (Source Material)

Star 80 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

All That Jazz 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Music (1)

Damn Yankees 1958 (Movie)

("Who's Got the Pain") (Song Performer)
Other (9)

From Broadway: Fosse 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Choreographer

All That Jazz 1979 (Movie)

choreography (Choreographer)

The Little Prince 1973 (Movie)

choreography(Snake in the Grass) (Choreographer)

Cabaret 1972 (Movie)

Dances and Musical Numbers Staged by (Choreographer)

Sweet Charity 1969 (Movie)

choreography (Choreographer)

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 1967 (Movie)

choreography (Choreographer)

The Pajama Game 1957 (Movie)

choreography (Choreographer)

My Sister Eileen 1955 (Movie)

choreography (Choreographer)

Pippin (Movie)

(Supervisor/Manager)
other (1)

Pippin (Movie)

(Choreography)

Biography

Arguably one of the most influential and visionary choreographers of the 20th century, Bob Fosse brought style and sexuality to the Broadway stage through his dances for such memorable musicals as "The Pajama Game" (1954), "Damn Yankees" (1958), "Sweet Charity" (1969), "Pippin" (1972) and "Chicago" (1975), as well as his direction on such films as "Cabaret" (1972), "Lenny" (1974) and "All That Jazz" (1979). Fosse began his career as a dancer with aspirations of Hollywood stardom, but his slight stature and baldness put a halt to that dream. He headed for Broadway, where his steamy, jazz-influenced choreography and direction wowed audiences and earned numerous Tonys. In 1969, he made the leap to film directing, and won the Oscar for "Cabaret" before enjoying critical success with the Lenny Bruce biopic, "Lenny," and the autobiographical fantasy, "All That Jazz" (1979). A larger-than-life figure whose passion for his art was matched by his appetite for hard, fast-paced living, Fosse's drive and technique made him a legend in the theater world, which fell in love with him again through celebrations and revivals after his untimely death in 1987.

Relationships

Cyril K Fosse

Father

Sarah Fosse

Mother

Nicole Fosse

Daughter
born 1963 mother Gwen Verdon performed in father's "Dancin'" (1978) consulted on the 1998 retrospective "Fosse: A Celebration in Song and Dance" has three children

Julie Hagerty Actor

Companion
had on-again, off-again relationship between 1977 and 1979

Jessica Lange Actor

Companion
Had on-again-off-again relationship beginning in 1975 Lange played the Angel of Death in Fosse's semi-autobiographical film "All That Jazz" (1979) No longer together

Joan McCracken

Wife
second wife married in 1953 divorced in 1954 died in 1961 met while both appeared in "Dance Me a Song" on Broadway (1949)

Mary Niles

Wife
first wife married in 1949 divorced in 1951 died in 1987, one week after Fosse's death

Ann Reinking Actor

Companion
together on and off from 1973 to 1979

Gwen Verdon Actor

Wife
Married on April 3, 1960 separated in 1971 never divorced and remained friends and collaborators Fosse collapsed in her arms in 1987, stricken with his third, and fatal heart attack

EDUCATION

American Theatre Wing

New York , New York 1947 - 1948

Amundsen High School

Chicago , Illinois

Milestones

1998

"Fosse: A Celebration in Song and Dance", an ambitious retrospective co-conceived by Richard Maltby, Ann Reinking and Chet Walker (with Gwen Verdon as artistic advisor); show's title shortened to "Fosse" for its Broadway run

1987

Collapsed on the street in Washington DC, dying within sight of the National Theatre where his dancers were dressing for a touring revival of "Sweet Charity"

1986

Stage the popular revival of "Sweet Charity", featuring Debbie Allen, Bebe Neuwirth and Michael Rupert

1985

Adapted musical book, "Big Deal", from the Italian film "Big Deal on Madonna Street"

1983

Wrote and directed "Star 80", the story of Dorothy Statton's life and tragic murder; Fosse's last movie, he re-edited it for TV

1979

Directed "All That Jazz", starring Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange and Ann Reinking; also wrote screenplay and choreographed; earned Oscar nominations as Best Director and for Best Original Screenplay

1978

His dance spectacular "Dancin'" opened on Broadway, pointing the way to shows that could play easily to foreign business travelers, without the language barrier

1975

"Chicago", conceived and directed by Fosse (with book by Fosse and lyricist Fred Ebb and music by John Kander), opened on Broadway, starring Verdon and Chita Rivera; the song "All That Jazz" would become the title of his autobiographical fantasy film; an

1974

Co-choreographed and appeared as the Snake in the film musical "The Little Prince"

1974

Helmed fine adaptation of Julian Berry's play "Lenny", a powerful biography of troubled nightclub comic Lenny Bruce; earned second Oscar nomination as Best Director

1973

Won what showbiz folks refer to as the triple crown: the Oscar for directing "Cabaret" (1972); the Tony for directing "Pippin" (and another for choregraphing it), and the Emmy for directing (and two others, for choreographing and producing) the NBC variet

1968

Film directing debut, "Sweet Charity", starring Shirley MacLaine

1966

Had success on Broadway with the musical "Sweet Charity", with book by Neil Simon and starring Verdon

1965

Only Fosse show to close before reaching Broadway, "Pleasures and Palaces", bombed at Detroit's Fisher Theatre

1964

Returned to stage as a performer in City Center revival of "Pal Joey"

1962

Directed "Little Me"; first collaboration with Neil Simon as book writer

1959

Made Broadway musical directing debut with "Redhead", starring Gwen Verdon and Richard Kiley

1957

Choreographed "New Girl in Town", a musical adaptation of "Anna Christie", starring third wife Gwen Verdon

1955

First film as choreographer, "My Sister Eileen"; also acted

1954

First Broadway play as choreographer, "The Pajama Game"; received first Tony Award

1953

Signed MGM contract and appeared in "Give a Girl a Break", "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis" and "Kiss Me Kate"

1953

Choreographed onscreen dance for himself and Carol Haney in "From This Moment On" number in "Kiss Me Kate"

1952

Moved to Hollywood

1949

Broadway debut in revue, "Dance Me a Song"; met future second wife Joan McCracken

1948

Stage debut in chorus of national touring company of "Call Me Mister"

1946

Moved to NYC

As a sailor during World War II, performed in variety shows put together by Joseph Papp

After WWII formed a dance act with first wife Mary Ann Niles

Danced in vaudeville and burlesque as an adolescent in his native Chicago

Bonus Trivia

.

"There were a couple of men who were crazy about me when they saw '[King] Kong'. Fosse was one. He got in touch with me. We became friends and lovers. We had a wonderful relationship. We laughed like crazy. I loved Fosse because he was a renegade and there was such a dark side to him. He loved that whole seedy side of New York--Forty-Second Street, the strip joints, the live sex shows. We'd hang out there, go to the arcades, these weird shows. Fosse knew it like the back of his hand. We were in and out of places you wouldn't even know existed.

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"There was something very seductive about someone so caught up in self-destruction. It was very much like what you saw in 'All That Jazz', with his drinking and smoking. But he was unbelievably sweet, tender, and generous. He was so kind at a time when a lot of people had dismissed me ... There was, about Fosse, something sad. Profoundly lonely. That's what I connected with more than anything." --Jessica Lange quoted in Vanity Fair, October 1991.

.

Fosse once claimed his distinctive look stemmed from an attempt to hide his deficiencies: "I was getting pretty bald for a hoofer and felt a hat would hide it. Canes became important to me when my hands started trembling and seemed like a good way to distract the audience." --from The Boston Globe, September 6, 1998.

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As Fosse acknowledged, his turned-in, angular, low-to-the-ground style developed from what [Gwen] Hillier [former Fosse dancer and director of a 1998 revival of 'Pippin' in the Los Angeles area] calls "the quirkiness of his own body--he wasn't tall, didn't have a huge build or as much ballet training as he probably would have liked." So he began by capitalizing on his unique personality as a dancer and later demanded the same individuality from others."The original [national company of] 'Pippin' was one of the first shows that I danced where I wasn't just a happy villager. He explained that he wanted each of us to find out exactly who we were in the show, to make our own personal statement there." --From Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1998.

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"My life is an open pamphlet." --Bob Fosse

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"He was like a master chef who put his finger in the kettle and said, 'It's right.' He was hardly an intellectual. He had this long sleaze streak, and that got him into trouble. But I don't know that you could classify him as a rebel." --biographer Morton Gottfried quoted in USA Today, June 23, 1998.

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