Herbert Ross (May 13, 1927 – October 9, 2001) was an American film director, producer, choreographer and actor.
Early life and career
Born Herbert David Ross in Brooklyn, New York, he made his stage debut as Third Witch with a touring company of Macbeth in 1942. His Broadway credits as a performer included Something for the Boys (1943), Laffing Room Only (1944), Beggar's Holiday (1946), and Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948). His career as a choreographer began with the American Ballet Theatre in 1950; the following year he choreographed his first Broadway production, the Arthur Schwartz-Dorothy Fields musical adaptation of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
His first film assignment was as uncredited choreographer on Carmen Jones in 1954. He choreographed the dance numbers for the Cliff Richard films The Young Ones (1961) and Summer Holiday (1963). In 1968, Ross worked with Barbra Streisand as choreographer and director of musical numbers for the film Funny Girl. The following year, he made his motion picture directorial debut with a musical version of the classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips, starring Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark.
In 1975, Ross worked on the film adaptation of the Neil Simon play The Sunshine Boys, the first of several Simon play adaptations he directed. Two years later, he helmed the ballet-oriented drama The Turning Point, for which he won the Golden Globe and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Director. He also earned a Academy Award nomination as Best Director, and earned another nomination for co-producing the film.
He had a huge hit with the film adaptation of Robert Harling's play Steel Magnolias, featuring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, and Shirley MacLaine, in 1989. His last film was in 1995, when he produced and directed Boys on the Side, with Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker and Drew Barrymore.
He was married twice, the first time to ballerina Nora Kaye, who died of cancer in 1987 at the age of 67. His second marriage was to Lee Radziwill and ended in divorce in 2001.
Ross died of heart failure in 2001 in New York City and was buried with his beloved first wife dancer Nora Kaye, in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Their gravestone is inscribed -They Loved Each Other.
Additional Broadway credits
(As choreographer, unless otherwise noted)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1951)
Three Wishes for Jamie (1952)
House of Flowers (1954)
The Body Beautiful (1958)
Finian's Rainbow (1960 revival)
The Gay Life (1961)
I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962)
Anyone Can Whistle (1964)
Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965)
Kelly (Chorographer and director, 1965)
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965)
The Apple Tree (1965)
Chapter Two (Director, 1977)
I Ought to Be in Pictures (Director, 1980)
Films as director
Wonderful Town (1958) (TV)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)
The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
T.R. Baskin (1971)
Play It Again, Sam (1972)
The Last of Sheila (1973)
Funny Lady (1975)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
The Turning Point (1977, sole Best Director Oscar nomination)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
California Suite (1978)
Pennies From Heaven (1981)
I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)
Max Dugan Returns (1983)
The Secret of My Success (1987)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
My Blue Heaven (1990)
True Colors (1991)
Undercover Blues (1993)
Boys on the Side (1995)
1.^ "Lee Bouvier Radziwill Weds Herbert Ross, Film Director". New York Times. 1988-09-24. Retrieved 2007-06-21. "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 Theater, attended the couple."