People We Love: Bob Fosse

Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse, June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987

Born on this Day in 1927.

Bob Fosse was one of the most esteemed jazz choreographers and directors of all time. He changed how the world viewed dance on the stage and on the screen.

Fosse’s dance style was inspired by his teenage years spent dancing in burlesque houses and nightclubs. Fosse choregraphed some of the most loved film and stage musicals in history including Cabaret (1972), Pippin (1972), and Chicago (1975).

Following his time in the burlesque houses, Fosse made his way to Broadway as a dancer in the chorus. He was noticed by George Abbton and Jerome Robbins in Kiss Me Kate in 1953. He won his first Tony for choreography in The Pajama Game in 1954.

Fosse received many awards for his work and in 1973 was the first person to win an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy in the same year. He is also the only person to have won all three awards in the category of Best Director.

Fosse co-wrote and directed All That Jazz in 1979 which was a semi-autobiographical work in which Roy Scheider played Joe Gordon, a womanizing, drug-addicted choreographer and director. His final film in 1983 was Star 80 about slain Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten.

Fosse died of a heart attack in Washington, DC on September 23, 1987. That same night a revival of Sweet Charity was opening at the nearby National Theatre.

In 1958 Fosse danced (in an uncredited role) with his third wife Gwen Verdon in the film version of Damn Yankees.

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