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. Other movies followed for Ross, including The Owl and the Pussycat, Funny Lady (both starred Barbra Streisand), Pennies From Heaven, T.R. Baskin, and the original Footloose.
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