Ross, Herbert David


Ross, Herbert David
▪ 2002

      American dancer, choreographer, and film director (b. May 13, 1927, Brooklyn, N.Y.—d. Oct. 9, 2001, New York, N.Y.), had a career as a dancer on Broadway and choreographed for ballet companies, the stage, and motion pictures before turning to film directing. Among his numerous popular movies were five Neil Simon comedies—The Sunshine Boys (1975), The Goodbye Girl (1977), California Suite (1978), I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982), and Max Dugan Returns (1983)—and a drama that tapped his knowledge of the dance world, The Turning Point (1977); one of the main characters in the latter was modeled on his first wife, ballerina Nora Kaye, with whom he frequently collaborated. Ross dropped out of high school to pursue a performing career in New York City, where he danced in the choruses of several shows. While attending an exhibition of artworks by Francisco de Goya, he was especially impressed by the series “Los caprichos” and decided to choreograph a ballet inspired by them. Caprichos (1950) was so successful in a workshop that American Ballet Theatre chose it for inclusion in its 10th anniversary season. Ross created more ballets for the company during the following several years, most notably The Maids (1957), as well as choreographing for television and supper-club acts. He also did the choreography for a number of Broadway hits, including A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1951), I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962), which launched Barbra Streisand's career, Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965), as well as such films as Carmen Jones (1954) and Funny Girl (1968). Ross made his film-directing debut with the musical version of Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969), and his hit movies included The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), Play It Again, Sam (1972), The Last of Sheila (1973), Footloose (1984), and Steel Magnolias (1989).

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Universalium. 2010.

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