Fosse, Bob

Fosse, Bob

(Robert Louis Fosse) (fô`sē, fŏs`ē), 1927–87, American choreographer and director, b. Chicago. Generally recognized as the most talented and influential theatrical choreographer and musical director of his generation, Fosse developed an unmistakable dance style that became his trademark—angular; provocatively sexy, with hunched shoulders, turned-in feet, and thrusting hips; and expressful of the full range of human emotion, from joy to bleak despair. He first appeared on Broadway in Dance Me a Song (1950). He choreographed dances for The Pajama Game (1954) and Damn Yankees (1955), choreographed and directed Sweet Charity (1966) and Pippin (1972), and choreographed, directed, and cowrote the book for Chicago (1975). Fosse directed and choreographed the films Sweet Charity (1969), Cabaret (1972), and the semiautobiographical All That Jazz (1979). In 1972, he became the only director to win an Academy Award (Cabaret), a Tony Award (Pippin) and an Emmy Award ("Liza with a Z") in the same year.


See biographies by M. Gottfried (2003) and S. Wasson (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Fosse, (Robert Louis) Bob

(1927–87) choreographer, dancer, director; born in Chicago. He began his career in vaudeville as a child, performing as one of the "Riff Brothers" at age 13. After dancing in films, such as Kiss Me Kate (1953), he won Tony Awards for choreography of The Pajama Game (1956) and Damn Yankees (1957). He created a new title on Broadway, director/choreographer, winning Tony Awards for Redhead (1958) and Sweet Charity (1966). Directing musical films as well, he won an Oscar for Cabaret (1972). Subsequent Broadway shows, most notably Dancin' (1978), and films such as the semiautobiographical All That Jazz (1979), secured his reputation as one of the most innovative and influential director/choreographers in musical theater and film.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.