Bob Ross, the bushy-haired host of "Joy of Painting" on public television who parlayed the success of his program into an industry of art books and supplies, died on July 4. He was 52.
The cause was cancer, said Walter J. Kowalski, the chief executive officer of Bob Ross Inc., in Sterling, Va.
In a voice so so soothing that its effect was once compared to Demerol, Mr. Ross encouraged viewers to paint "happy little clouds" and "pretty little mountains." He contended that given half an hour (the length of his show), anyone could paint a landscape by following his insturctions. Most of his audience, however, watched just to hear him speak. Mr. Ross's folksy demeanoreventually came to be interpreted as a kind of reverse chic. MTV hired him to star in a series of promotional spots.
After Mr. Ross's show started in 1983, he expanded his activities into a multimillion-dollar business that included how-to books, a line of art paint and courses in which instructors were trained in the Bob Ross method.
Mr. Ross was born in Daytona Beach, Fla., the son of a carpenter. He took up art and later studied with William Alexander, whose own painting show, also on public television, is a rival of Mr. Ross's.
Mr. Ross's wife Jane died in 1993. He is survived by a son, Steven, of Ronkonkoma, L.I., who is
a Bob Ross instructor and occasionally appeared on Mr. Ross's program.
Back to Dan's Bob Ross Page