Fosse was born the son of vaudeville artists practically in the theater and was already seen as a child and teenager with solo dance numbers on stage. After a brief episode in the U.S. Navy, he began an acting school. From 1948 to 1950 he was first with insignificant musical shows on tours of the U.S., to then work as a dancer in Broadway shows. Through the musical film he arrived in the early 1950s to smaller roles in Hollywood.
In 1954, Fosse for the first time the chance to show their own choreography on a Broadway stage. The show The Pajama Game was equal to a big Broadway success. Other shows followed, and slowly a congenial partnership between choreographer and dancer began to emerge from his collaboration with the dancer Gwen Verdon. After two short marriages which both ended in divorce, Bob Fosse found in Gwen Verdon 's wife, with the he remained married for the rest of his life. They married in 1960 and had a child together.
In the 1960s, Bob Fosse not only began to choreograph shows, but also work as a chief responsibility director. One of his greatest Broadway successes were Sweet Charity. The film adaptation of the same name in 1969 with Shirley MacLaine in the lead role was also his debut as a film director. What at the time seemed to be a new beginning of the musical film, is now a classic. On the Broadway stage, he brought another classic premiered: 1972 Pippin ', 1975 Chicago and 1978 Dancin'. Productions that have become one of the most successful long -time runners in the history of Broadway.
The surpassing success was the film version of the musical Cabaret in 1972 with Liza Minnelli in the role of Sally Bowles. Fosse was this time director and choreographer and was awarded the Oscar for best director for Cabaret. Overall, the film won eight Oscars. The success of Cabaret opened more doors for him, so he could work from there free and independent. In 1972, he staged for his new star Liza Minnelli TV show Liza with a Z, for which he received an Emmy Award. In 1974 he filmed the life of comedian Lenny Bruce. The film Lenny with Dustin Hoffman in the title role, received six Oscar nominations.
The chain-smoking workaholic Fosse but paid a high price for this success. During his work for the world premiere of Chicago, he suffered a massive heart attack. The experience suffered processed Fosse in another masterpiece: The strongly autobiographical film All That Jazz from 1979 with Roy Scheider as Fosse's alter ego and Jessica Lange in the lead roles is a haunting glimpse into the world of entertainment. Bob Fosse also wrote the screenplay for this film and won a Golden Palm at the International Film Festival of Cannes 1980.
Shortly before the premiere of the revival of his hit musical Sweet Charity died in 1987 Bob Fosse, after he had suffered another heart attack.