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.
- The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953 ,actor) - Charlie Trask
- Kiss Me Kate (1953, actor) - 'Hortensio'
- Give a Girl a Break (1953, actor) - Bob Dowdy
- White Christmas (1954, choreographer, uncredited)
- My Sister Eileen (1955, actor, choreographer) - Frank
- The Pajama Game (1957, choreographer)
- Damn Yankees (1958, actor, dancer, choreographer) - Mambo Dancer (uncredited)
- Sweet Charity (1969, director, choreographer)
- Cabaret (1972, director, choreographer)
- The Little Prince (1974, actor, choreographer) - The Snake
- Lenny (1974 ,director) - The Interviewer (voice, uncredited)
- Thieves (1977, actor) - Mr. Day (final film role)
- All That Jazz (1979, screenwriter, director, choreographer)
- Star 80 (1983, screenwriter, director)
- The 1st TV Academy Hall of Fame (1984) - Himself
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,
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: