C’mon babe/Why don’t we paint the town/And all that jazz.
He may have won nine Tonys and will be honored, along with fellow move makers Isadora Duncan, José Limón and Katherine Dunham, by the United States Postal Service on 2012 “Forever” stamps, but nothing can stamp out the lies and deceit that surrounded the death of chain-smoking director-choreographer Bob Fosse.
The stamp features Fosse on the set of Sweet Charity, the show that stopped his life.
On September 23, 1987, Fosse, working on a revival of his 1969 hit musical Sweet Charity, was walking back to his Washington, D.C. hotel room. With him was former wife and original Charity star Gwen Verdon (they separated in the ’70s, but remained married); at about 7 p.m. when they reached the corner of 13thand Pennsylvania Avenue, Fosse fell to the ground, the victim of a massive heart attack.
Gwen cradled his head in his arms and tried to shoo away the crowds that had gathered. A doctor worked his way through, loosened Fosse’s shirt and began pounding his heart. It obviously hurt and Fosse, his eyes now half shut and his complexion green, said so. His last words? “Please stop. You’re hurting me. I’m alright. Don’t worry about me.”
Fosse was rushed to the hospital, but nothing could save him.
He died, at 60, as opening night audience members at the Kennedy Center were enjoying the intermission of Sweet Charity. Verdon later told the press Fosse suffered the fatal heart attack and died in his room at the Willard, wanting to preserve his dignity. Papers fell for it, even The New York Times.
Fosse’s ashes were scattered at sea . . . and all that jazz.
More about dead celebs! My book, MORBID CURIOSITY: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous, has gotten rave reviews from celebs not dead . . . yet.
“Alan has written a very funny, very clever book-it’s shocking and sinful, and I couldn’t put it down. He leaves no gravestone unturned, nothing buried. Morbid Curiosity is part Six Feet Under, part Mad magazine. It’ll make a killing!” – Joan Rivers
“Even celebrities die, and they do so in far more grand-scale ways than mere mortals. Now that they’ve met their maker, they’ve also found their chronicler, Alan W. Petrucelli. He unearths the demises of the rich and infamous-from Valentino to Heath Ledger and beyond-with detailed research, dishy wit and insight. This book is to die for!” –Michael Musto
“Morbid Curiosity is a cornucopia of Hollywood gossip and tidbits, much more humorous than macabre, delivered from a different point of view than any book I’ve read about celebs. It’s breezy, pithy, informative, odd and, despite its subject matter, certain to amuse.” – Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies