Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse Headshot

Dancer • Choreographer • Actor • Director

Birth Name: Robert Louis Fosse

Birth Date: June 23, 1927

Death Date: September 23, 1987

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

Spouses: Joan McCracken, Gwen Verdon

Partners: Ann Reinking

One of the most prolific and influential dancers and choreographers of the 20th century, Bob Fosse was born Robert Louis Fosse in Chicago, Illinois in 1927. Inspired by the footwork of the legendary Fred Astaire as a child, Fosse began dancing practically from the time he could walk.

He was recruited to tour U.S. military bases in the Pacific during World War II with the variety show "Tough Situation" and continued his career as a professional dancer as soon as the war was over, performing on "Your Hit Parade" (NBC, 1950-59) before signing a contract with MGM and appearing in "Give A Girl A Break" (1953), "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis" (1953), and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953).

Fosse began his Broadway career in 1954, choreographing "The Pajama Game," which he quickly followed with hits like "Damn Yankees," "Redhead," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and "Sweet Charity," over the course of the '50s and '60s. In 1969, Fosse directed and choreographed the movie adaptation of "Sweet Charity" (1969), which proved such a hit that he then embarked on an even more ambitious film musical, the highly acclaimed "Cabaret" (1972).

He would move on to direct the iconic Lenny Bruce biopic "Lenny" (1974) before returning to the stage to mount the massively popular and influential musical "Chicago." He would subsequently return to film with even higher aspirations, directing the innovative "All That Jazz" (1979), a compelling and often avant-garde film based largely on his own life.

Fosse then directed a movie about the tragic murder of model Dorothy Stratten, "Star 80" (1983). His last major project came in 1986, when he wrote, directed, and choreographed the acclaimed Broadway musical "Big Deal." Fosse was developing a movie about gossip columnist Walter Winchell when he unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack in 1987. He was 60 years old.

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