He famously started as a dancer, and can be seen in a few MGM musicals from the early 50s, but Bob Fosse made his name as a choreographer and director, first on Broadway, then in Hollywood.

And he won the triple crown — An Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony. AND, all in the same year!

QUESTION: Fosse won these awards for which titles, and in what year? (Those two pictured above should provide a juicy clue.)

As you are pondering this, we offer this Fosse tidbit relating to his life in Hollywood.

Beautiful young movie stars such as Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, although supposedly living the life of marital bliss, were certainly susceptible to temptation and Hollywood gossip.  One name popped up as a real point of contention between them — Bob Fosse.

Although married at the time to actress Joan McCracken, Fosse maintained a lady’s man reputation. He was hired as actor-choreographer to help Janet prepare for her costarring role in the 1955 musical, My Sister Eileen, her first movie assignment under a new Columbia Pictures contract.

Janet and Fosse worked together for nearly a month before shooting began. I was walking on air. An innocent kiss turned out to be a little more than either of us bargained for, Janet later wrote. Still there was no denying that our friendship counted more than a business affiliation.

Husband Tony saw it somewhat the same way as per his autobiography: One weekend I came home and found a letter from Fosse to Janet. ‘I can’t wait to see you,’ it said. ‘When you’re coming, please let me know.’

I couldn’t be absolutely sure, but it certainly looked like Fosse had written a love note to my wife.  I was wrecked. Even though Janet and I were distant, I became obsessed with the thought of Janet and Fosse in bed together; I imagined it over and over again, getting more upset each time.

Well, we know what ultimately happened to the Janet-Tony marriage.

Fosse addressed his libertine ways in his 1979 semi-autobiographical title, All That Jazz. Roy Scheider stars as a womanizing, drug using dancer with a heart condition. (Fosse died at 60 in 1987 of a heart attack.) All That Jazz was well received.

At the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, the decision was controversially made to split the top prize, the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm), between Fosse’s All That Jazz and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha. 

Now to our Fosse question:  stay tuned, answer tomorrow.

 

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