Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 302-304. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

Choreographer, Writer (besides director).

Directed 5 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine and Roy Scheider. Minnelli and Grey won for their performances in Cabaret (1972).

Father (with Gwen Verdon) of Nicole Fosse.

Fosse has unintentionally competed with Francis Ford Coppola on several occasions. Both were up for the 1972 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for The Godfather (1972) and Fosse for Cabaret (1972); Fosse won). Both were up for the 1974 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Fosse for Lenny (1974); Coppola won). Both were up for the 1979 Best Director Oscar (Coppola for Apocalypse Now (1979) and Fosse for All That Jazz (1979); neither won). Also, when Fosse's film won the Palme D'or at the Cannes film festival in 1980 (Coppola won the previous year for Apocalypse Now (1979)), he tied with the Akira Kurosawa film Kagemusha (1980), which had two Americans as executive producers: George Lucas and Coppola.

Fosse was born in Chicago in 1927, which was the setting and time period for his famous '75 musical, "Chicago," starring Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, and Jerry Orbach.

He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Theatre Choreographer with Ann Reinking for "Fosse" at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

His idol was Fred Astaire.

In 1973, he received an Academy Award for directing Cabaret (1972), a Tony for directing "Pippin," and an Emmy for directing Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television (1972) (TV). He's the only director to win all three major industry prizes in a single year.

In most of his choreographed pieces, he (or those dancing his choreography) usually wore a hat and gloves. Fosse always wore hats because he started going bald at the age of 17; he used gloves a lot because he didn't like his hands.

Received three Emmy Awards in 1973 for Producing, Directing and Choreographing the Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television (1972) (TV) TV special starring Liza Minnelli.

Separated from Gwen Verdon in to 1970s, but remained married to her until his death. In the interim, he was romantically involved with Ann Reinking and Jessica Lange.

Throughout his career, he was always listed in the Manhattan phone directory.

Was at times slated to choreograph and direct several Broadway hits, including "Funny Girl" and "Promises, Promises".

Was planning on making a film version of his Broadway hit "Chicago", with Madonna (a film version is once again in the works, thanks to the success of the Broadway revival), as well as a film about the life of Walter Winchell.

Won seven Tony Awards out of 15 nominations, placing him just one win behind record-holder Gower Champion, who also had the same number of nominations. Fosse's wins were, as Best Choreographer: in 1955, for "The Pajama Game;" in 1956, for "Damn Yankees!." in 1959, for "Redhead;" in 1963, for "Little Me;" in 1966, for "Sweet Charity;" in 1973 for "Pippin;" and as Best Director (Musical): in 1973, for "Pippin;" His other Tony nominations were: as Best Choreographer, in 1957, with Jerome Robbins for "Bells Are Ringing;" in 1958, for "New Girl in Town;" and in 1976 for "Chicago;" as Director (Musical): in 1963, with Cy Feuer for "Little Me;" in 1966 for "Sweet Charity;" and in 1976 for "Chicago;" as Best Actor (Musical), in 1964 for a City Center revival of "Pal Joey;" and as Best Book (Musical), in 1976 with Fred Ebb for "Chicago."