Bob Fosse Biography

Bob Fosse

The choreographer/director whose triumphs include 'Chicago' and 'Cabaret' helped to launch Streisand, Hoffman and Minnelli. But outside the limelight was a very deep darkness indeed.

Fosse was born into a star-struck family and, by his early teens, he was dancing in low-end burlesque houses, where he could closely observe the raunch that became part of his dance signature.

After the end of WWII he found his way to Broadway, and debuted in 'Call Me Mister' in 1947. Less than ten years later he was choreographing on Broadway, where he met his wife, Gwen Verdon. They consolidated their star status with 'Sweet Charity'.

Unfortunately the marriage was not always happy; as well as an obsessive workaholic, Fosse was often unfaithful. He also struggled with alcohol and drug dependency.

His choreographic style came from his life experiences, and musical tastes, but also from his own physical quirks and limitations. Fosse didn't like his balding head, so he always wore his trademark hats. He was slightly round-shouldered (note the shrugs) and pigeon-toed (watch for the turned-in feet).

His style was marked by a careful attention to detail; tiny gestures such as a shrug, or the way he held a teacup expressed a great deal.

Those little, pure Fosse moves say a lot, whether it's a shrug of the shoulders, or holding a derby with fingers in proper teacup form.

He is best known for choreographing 'Cabaret', but was also responsible for 'Pardon Me, Miss, Have You Ever Been Kissed by a Real Live Girl'.

He died of heart failure in 1987, at the age of sixty.

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