Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BOB FOSSE WAS A USER

A note for you, Dear Ones: I can see from your comments on Monday that I'm not the only person who loves classic films and musicals. If you would like to write a guest post about your favorite musicals, whether on stage or on film, and especially your favorite Fosse and Verdon moments or your other beloved stars in musicals, please email me at dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com. If you don't have so much to say that you want to write an entire post but you have a couple of paragraphs about your favorites that you'd like to share, then please send them to me, also at dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com. I can combine shorter bits of writing in a few posts. I don't think we interact as much in the blogosphere as we used to do. I hope to do my small part to change that.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Bob Fosse was a big-time user. He was a heavy drinker and smoker. He took prescription drugs (uppers) to keep him going. I don't know if he always obtained them legally.

He also used women and could be very nasty. If #metoo had existed when he was alive, he would have been talked about all over it. Plenty of women had good reason to complain about him. As a choreographer and director, he expected dancers to have sex with him. If a woman declined, she might find herself without a job, or at least she'd be threatened. He also used his wives. Each of his three wives helped him move up in his career and he treated them like shit.

But oh my god! how the man could dance. And his choreography was amazing. He directed some excellent Broadway shows and movies, too.

Bob Fosse was born in 1927 and by the time he was 13 he was dancing in bars and burlesque houses. As he grew older, he moved to New York. He wanted to be the next Fred Astaire.

We all know that the world has only had one Fred Astaire and we'll never see another one, but Fosse was very successful in his own way. He started out dancing in some Broadway shows and appeared on television. In 1953 he got a contract with MGM. He appeared in films such as Give A Girl A Break and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis. His choreography for a dance sequence that he performed with Carol Haney in Kiss Me Kate called attention to his abilities.

Then he started choreographing Broadway shows, including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. 

1960––choreographed and directed New Girl In Town
1961––choreographed How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
1966––choreographed and directed Sweet Charity
1973––won a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical for Pippin
1975––choreographed and directed Chicago
1986––choreographed and directed Big Deal and won the Tony for Best Choreography

In between Broadway shows and sometimes while he was working on Broadway shows, he directed movies. Here's his Filmography as it appears on Wikipedia. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Cabaret, a huge success––and a movie that I love––that won many awards. Cabaret is currently available on Netflix streaming.


He died from a heart attack when he was 60 years old. Not a big surprise with the drugs, the drinking, the smoking, and the overwork. 

Wow! This post will be ridiculously long if I start telling you about the women in his life and "the Fosse style." So we'll start with this information, and learn more about Bob Fosse tomorrow (I'll try for tomorrow).


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Fosse

Of course, we have to watch him dance. Bring on your best, Bob. The sequence I chose is "The Competition Dance" from the movie My Sister Eileen (1955). Appearing with  him is Tommy Rall (no slouch himself). When the sequence begins, Fosse will be on your left. He wears the darker suit and the gray hat.

Ladies and Gentlemen, coming to you directly from YouTube, it's Bob Fosse:






22 comments:

  1. I really don't do movies. Any movies. I will read your posts with interest though (as I always do).

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  2. I always "Sing in the Rain". My moves are nothing like Fred Astaires, but then again it's hard to find just the right kind of light poles.

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  3. Bob Fosse was a true a hole that would be disgraced today for what he did. He could dance and had his own style which people just say, “the Fosse style” and most know what they mean. Love the scene you chose

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    1. Oh, yeah. He was a jerk, and he knew it. He made All That Jazz.

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  4. People are complicated, and great artists can be greatly complicated.

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  5. Great video!! How about his choreography for the stage & screen versions of "Pippen" ~ one of the best examples of the "Fosse style"?

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    1. I have never seen Pippin but will take a look at YouTube.

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  6. Bob Fosse doesn't sound like he was a good guy. Not at all. As Birgit said...a-hole. Annoying how successful he was.

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    1. He also went through a hell of a lot before he became successful. Can you imagine a kid helping to support his family by dancing in bars and burlesque shows?

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  7. Unlike some, I can separate the person from the onscreen persona. Yeah, Bob Fosse was an asshole, but he sure was a talented asshole! To me, he and Gwen were far more interesting (along with Gene Kelly) than Fred and Ginger. Cyd Charisse was cool, too. I'm trying to cut back online activities over the summer, otherwise I'd take you up on your guest post offer. Most of the material you'll see from me is recycled (aka "summer reruns). P.S. I'm enjoying the Fosse/Verdon miniseries. Thanks again!

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    1. It's getting to the point that if we don't separate the everyday person from the artist, then we won't be able to watch many movies. Most men and women have something ugly in their backgrounds. I'm no saint.

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  8. Yet another artist where we must ignore the terrible private person if we are to enjoy the shining artistic presence.

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  9. Asshat or talented asshat is still an asshat.
    I love the mini series and have always been a fan of his choreography. The minute details in the movements of his dances are outstanding.
    I am about to start on my yearly summer "classic" movie tour. My sister and I watch the same films each summer and talk about them. How many times is it legal to rewatch Madame X?

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    1. You can watch as many movies you want as many times as you want. The Great and Wonderful Junebug has spoken (Toto, don't pull back my curtain).

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  10. An interesting post about an interesting man

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  11. These are not my favorite kind of movies. I've only seen All That Jazz and I liked it. I knew about his reputation and you're right, he would have been in trouble in today's world.

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    1. Since All That Jazz is autobiographical, we know that he recognized his failings.

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