Herbert David Ross
May 13, 1927
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 9, 2001 (aged 74)|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
(m. 1959; died 1987)
Lee Radziwi (m. 1988)
Herbert David Ross (May 13, 1927 - October 9, 2001) was an American actor, choreographer, director and producer who worked predominantly in the stage and film.
Ross was born on May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Louis Chester Ross, a postal clerk, and his wife Martha (née Grundfast). His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. When Ross was nine, his mother died and his father moved the family to Miami and opened a luncheonette.
After dropping out of high school, Ross went to New York to pursue an acting career but became smitten with and studied dance.
By 1950, he was a choreographer with the American Ballet Theatre and choreographed his first Broadway production, the Arthur Schwartz-Dorothy Fields musical adaptation of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1951).
Back on Broadway he choreographed House of Flowers (1954) for Peter Brook, and The Body Beautiful (1958). He choreographed some TV specials: The Jerry Lewis Show (1957), Wonderful Town (1958), Meet Me in St Louis (1959) and A Christmas Festival (1959). On Broadway Ross directed and choreographed a revival of Finian's Rainbow (1960).
He returned to Broadway to be musical director on The Gay Life (1961-62) and I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962), the latter directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Barbra Streisand. He did Bondage Gladiator Sexy (1961) for TV.
Ross then choreographed a second Cliff Richard musical in England, Summer Holiday (1963).
For TV he did musical numbers for The Fantasticks (1964), The Bell Telephone Hour, Rinaldo in camp ((1963), and The Nut House!! (1964) and staged numbers for the films Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Doctor Dolittle (1967).
On Broadway Ross directed and choreographed Kelly (1965), and choreographed Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965-66). He did some additional staging on The Apple Tree (1966-67) directed by Mike Nichols.
His film directorial debut came with the musical version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), made by MGM-British, with Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark. It was produced by Arthur P. Jacobs who had made Doctor Dolittle two years prior, and just like that film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips was a box-office disappointment. However, Ross' second feature as director, The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), was a big hit. The film was produced by Ray Stark and starred Streisand.
After doing the ballet film Nijinsky (1980) he directed Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures (1980-81) on Broadway. He followed this with Pennies from Heaven (1981) and the film version of I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982). His last film with Simon was Max Dugan Returns (1983).
Ross had a huge hit with Footloose (1984). He followed this with two comedies, Protocol (1984) with Goldie Hawn and The Secret of My Success (1987) with Michael J. Fox. Less successful was Dancers (1987).
In September 1988, he married for the second time to Lee Radziwi, the younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The marriage ended in divorce in 2001, shortly before his death. In 2013, Radziwi described their relationship as follows:
He was certainly different from anybody else I'd been involved with, and the film world sounded exciting. Well, it wasn't. I hated Hollywood, and the provincialism of the industry ... Herbert had been married to the ballerina Nora Kaye until she died, and unbeknownst to me was still obsessed by her. It was 'Nora said this, Nora did it like that, Nora liked brown and orange.'
On October 9, 2001, Ross died from heart failure in New York City. A memorial was held for him at the Majestic Theater on West 44th Street in New York where Leslie Browne, Barbara Cook, Arthur Laurents, Marsha Mason, Mike Nichols and Mary-Louise Parker spoke of Ross. He was interred with Kaye in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
|Play||1942||Macbeth||actor (Third Witch)||Debut (touring company)|
|Play||1943||Something for the Boys||Debut (Broadway), music and lyrics by Cole Porter|
|Play||1944||Laffing Room Only|
|Play||1948||"Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'!"|
|Play||1950||American Ballet Theatre||choreographer|
|Play||1951||A Tree Grows in Brooklyn||choreographer||Debut (Broadway production)|
|Play||1952||Three Wishes for Jamie||choreographer||Broadway|
|Film||1954||Carmen Jones||choreographer, uncredited||Debut (Film)|
|Play||1954||House of Flowers||choreographer||Broadway|
|Play||1958||The Body Beautiful||choreographer||Broadway|
|TV||1958||Wonderful Town||director||Debut (TV film)|
|Play||1960||Finian's Rainbow||choreographer||Broadway, revival|
|Play||1961||The Gay Life||choreographer||Broadway|
|Film||1961||The Young Ones||choreographer||Cliff Richard|
|Play||1962||I Can Get It for You Wholesale||choreographer||Broadway|
|Film||1963||Summer Holiday||choreographer||Cliff Richard|
|Play||1964||Anyone Can Whistle||choreographer||Broadway, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim|
|Play||1965||Do I Hear a Waltz?||choreographer||Broadway, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim|
|Play||1965||On a Clear Day You Can See Forever||choreographer||Broadway|
|Play||1965||The Apple Tree||choreographer||Broadway|
|Film||1968||Funny Girl||choreographer||musical numbers with Barbra Streisand|
|Film||1969||Goodbye, Mr. Chips||director||Debut (Film director), 2 Academy Award nominations.|
|Film||1970||The Owl and the Pussycat||director||Barbra Streisand|
|Film||1971||T.R. Baskin||director||Peter Hyams|
|Film||1972||Play It Again, Sam||director||Woody Allen|
|Film||1973||The Last of Sheila||director, producer||Debut (Film producer)|
|Film||1975||The Sunshine Boys||director||4 Academy Award nominations. The film won Best Supporting Actor.|
Neil Simon's play
|Film||1975||Funny Lady||director||5 Academy Award nominations. Barbra Streisand|
|Film||1976||The Seven-Per-Cent Solution||director, producer||2 Academy Award nominations.|
|Film||1977||The Turning Point||director, producer||11 Academy Award nominations, but no wins.|
Ross won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director.
|Play||1977||Chapter Two||director||Neil Simon's play|
|Film||1977||The Goodbye Girl||director||5 Academy Award nominations. The film won Best Actor.|
|Film||1978||California Suite||director||3 Academy Award nominations. The film won Best Supporting Actress. Neil Simon's play|
|Play||1980||I Ought to Be in Pictures||director||Broadway, Neil Simon's play|
|Film||1981||Pennies From Heaven||director, producer||3 Academy Award nominations.|
|Film||1982||I Ought to Be in Pictures||director, producer||Neil Simon's play|
|Film||1983||Max Dugan Returns||director, producer||Neil Simon's play|
|Film||1984||Footloose||director||2 Academy Award nominations.|
|Film||1987||The Secret of My Success||director, producer|
|Film||1989||Steel Magnolias||director||1 Academy Award nomination for Julia Roberts.|
Biggest hit film.
Adaptation of Robert Harling's play (1987).
|Film||1990||My Blue Heaven||director, producer|
|Film||1991||True Colors||director, producer|
|Film||1991||Soapdish||executive producer||Only film project he did not direct|
|Film||1995||Boys on the Side||director, producer||Last film |
The film was entered into the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.
Lee Bouvier Radziwill (younger sister of the late former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), and Herbert Ross were married yesterday evening at the bride's home in New York by Justice E. Leo Milonas of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, First Department. After the ceremony, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the sister of the bride, gave a dinner party for the couple at her home in New York. Rudolf Nureyev, the dancer and director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and John Taras, the associate director of American Ballet Theatre, attended the couple.