Shades of Gray

Dead Person of the Day – October 9 – Herb Ross

0 Comments 09 October 2012

Hi-ho Folks!

Yes, I’ve returned from my sojourn rejuvenated and more committed than ever to the fundamentals of obit writing, remembrance and a newfound interest in medieval execution techniques. But, more coming on that later.

I’ve chosen today’s DPD because he’s responsible for two of my favorite all time films: My Blue Heaven and Footloose. On a sadder note today’s DPD is also (partly) responsible for the meteorite rises of both Julia Roberts and Babs Streisand. Both of which I’d like to send on a slow boat to China.

Herb Ross.

In the 1950s and 60s he became incredibly famous as a dance choreographer on broadway. He developed a fruitful working relationship with playwright Neil Simon and adapted 5 of his plays into films. Between them, the films earned 16 Academy Award nominations — 11 for ”Turning Point” and 5 for ”Goodbye Girl” — although they won only one, Richard Dreyfuss’s best-actor award for ”The Goodbye Girl.” But who wouldn’t win with Richard Dreyfuss in that movie. That man could act his way out of a hootenany during the August heat in Mississippi.

Then came ”Footloose” in 1984 and the world was never the same again.

One interesting note about Ross. As a boy in Miami he told his family he would be staying with relatives in NY for the summer and instead joined a theatrical troupe that toured the Deep South. When he came home and told his father that he intended to drop out of high school and join the theater permanently, his father tried to talk him out of it, and they parted bitterly. That very night, his father died of a heart attack. Oy, talk about guilt!

Good to be back – now shut your trap and take an obit and sit over there.

Herbert Ross, Broadway Choreographer Turned Hollywood Director, Dies at 74

Published: October 11, 2001

Herbert Ross, a Broadway choreographer-turned-film director who brought serious dance into the Hollywood mainstream with movies like ”The Turning Point,” translated five Neil Simon comedies to the screen and directed a pantheon of actresses in some of their most memorable roles, died on Tuesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He was 74 and lived in Manhattan. Continue

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