Though he was physically "wrong" as a dancer, Bob Fosse never let those limitations impede his artistic ambition. Molding his own imperfections into a distinct, sinuous style, Fosse left his mark on Broadway and brought an innovative dimension of sophistication and sensual energy to the movie musical in such films as Cabaret (1972) and All That Jazz (1979).
Born in Chicago, Fosse began dance lessons at age nine. Though physically small and asthmatic, Fosse was a dance prodigy; by high school, he was already an experienced hoofer in Chicago's burlesque scene. After spending two years in the Navy, Fosse moved to New York in 1947. Finding work in the show Call Me Mister, Fosse and fellow dancer/first wife Mary Ann Niles began performing as a couple after Call Me Mister closed, with Fosse choreographing their routines. After meeting his second wife, dancer Joan McCracken, in 1950, Fosse began studying acting and dance at the American Theater Wing. With pigeon toes and slouching posture, Fosse hardly fit the dance ideal so he focused more on rhythm and style to make up for what he lacked physically. Spotted by a talent scout for MGM in 1952, Fosse headed to Hollywood to become a musical star.