Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon

fosse_verdon1June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987
January 13, 1925 – October 18, 2000

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon first met in 1955 on the original Broadway production of Damn Yankees. Fosse had found his way to Broadway via military variety shows and a brief stint in Hollywood. He had just come off the success of choreographing his first major show, The Pajama Game, when he was hired to do the same for Yankees. Verdon – already a Tony-winning dancer and featured actress – was given the chance at her first lead in the Adler/Ross musical comedy. The success of Yankees and the instant personal connection between star and choreographer led to one of the more intriguing and volatile partnerships in theatre history.

Bob and Gwen were married in 1960 and, though they separated in 1971, were lifelong partners both on and off the stage and screen. Gwen became Bob’s creative muse and the two would often work together in unofficial capacities to better each other’s projects. Together, they spawned other legendary productions like Sweet Charity (1966) and Kander and Ebb‘s 1975 masterpiece, Chicago. Professionally speaking, Fosse – who went on to direct a number of stage shows and films – won 9 Tonys, 3 Emmys and an Oscar (for 1973’s Cabaret) while Verdon notched 4 Tonys a Grammy and a host of other accolades.

As with any fiery relationship, there were ups and downs. They fought over life. They fought over work. Bob had a penchant for the occasional extra-marital affair. And the occasional pill or two. Despite separating, they remained close friends through it all. In 1987, Gwen and Bob were attending the Washington D.C. opening of a revival of Sweet Charity, when Bob suffered a fatal heart attack on the sidewalk outside of their hotel. Gwen continued working in movies and television. She earned a SAG Award nomination for her performance in the 1996 movie Marvin’s Room. In 2000, Gwen Verdon died in her sleep in her daughter’s home in Vermont. She never remarried.

Burial

Cremated – Gwen and their daughter scattered Bob’s ashes into the Atlantic ocean off of Long Island, NY. Gwen herself was also cremated and her ashes were retained or dispersed privately.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: