50 Facts About Bob Ross


Robert Norman Ross was an American painter, art instructor, and television host.


Bob Ross was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, CBC in Canada, and similar channels in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere.


Bob Ross was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, to Jack and Ollie Bob Ross, a carpenter and a waitress respectively, and raised in Orlando, Florida.


Bob Ross had a half-brother Jim, whom he mentioned in passing on his show.


In 1961,18-year-old Bob Ross enlisted in the United States Air Force and was put into service as a medical records technician.


Bob Ross rose to the rank of master sergeant and served as the first sergeant of the clinic at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, where he first saw the snow and mountains that later appear as recurring themes in his paintings.


Bob Ross developed his quick painting technique during brief daily work breaks.

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Bob Ross found himself frequently at odds with many of his painting instructors, who were more interested in abstract painting.


Bob Ross was working as a part-time bartender when he discovered a TV show called The Magic of Oil Painting, hosted by German painter Bill Alexander.


Bob Ross studied and mastered the technique, began painting and then successfully selling Alaskan landscapes that he would paint on novelty gold-mining pans.


Bob Ross retired from the Air Force in 1981 as a master sergeant.


Bob Ross returned to Florida, studied painting with Alexander, joined his "Alexander Magic Art Supplies Company" and became a traveling salesman and tutor.


Bob Ross was noted for his permed hair, which he ultimately disliked but kept after he had integrated it into the company logo.


Bob Ross explained his limited paint palette, deconstructing the process into simple steps.


Art critic Mira Schor compared Bob Ross to Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, noting that Bob Ross's soft voice and the slow pace of his speech were similar.


Bob Ross filmed wildlife, squirrels in particular, usually in his garden, and he would often take in injured or abandoned squirrels and other animals.


The major auction houses have never sold any of Ross's paintings, and Bob Ross Inc continues to own many of the ones he painted for The Joy of Painting, as Ross himself was opposed to having his work turned into financial instruments.


Bob Ross used a wet-on-wet oil painting technique of painting over a thin base layer of wet paint.


Bob Ross frequently recommended odorless paint thinner for brush cleaning.


Bob Ross painted three versions of almost every painting featured on his show.


The first was painted prior to taping and sat on an easel off-camera during filming, where Bob Ross used it as a reference to create the second copy which viewers actually watched him paint.


Bob Ross was well known for phrases he tended to repeat while painting, such as "let's add some happy little trees".


In most episodes, Bob Ross would note that he enjoyed cleaning his paint brush.


Bob Ross was fond of drying off a brush dipped in odorless thinner by striking it against the can of thinner, then striking it against a box and a trash can.


Bob Ross used a lightly sanded palette to avoid reflections from the studio lighting.

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In every show, Bob Ross wore jeans and a plain light-colored shirt, which he believed would be a timeless look, and spoke as if addressing one viewer.


Bob Ross repeatedly said everyone has inherent artistic talent and could become an accomplished artist given time, practice and encouragement.


Bob Ross was fond of country music and in 1987 was invited on stage by Hank Snow at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.


Ross visited New York City to promote his hardcover book, The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, and painting techniques to a studio audience several times.


Bob Ross returned in 1992 for a live show with hosts Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford.


In 1994, Bob Ross appeared on the Phil Donahue Show and took five audience members on-stage to do a painting.


In 1995, a visibly ill Bob Ross made his final public television appearance as a guest on the pilot episode of the children's series The Adventures of Elmer and Friends.


Bob Ross was married three times and had two children: a child he fathered from a relationship he had as a teenager, and a son, Robert Stephen "Steve" Bob Ross, with his first wife, Vivian Ridge.


Bob Ross answered them one at a time, technique by technique, until he had completed an entire painting.


In 1995, two months before his death, Bob Ross married for a third time, to Lynda Brown.


Bob Ross was very secretive about his life and had a great preference for privacy.


Bob Ross was not a member of any specific organized religion.


Bob Ross frequently expressed his belief in a creator god and often closed his shows with a wish that "God bless" his viewers.


Bob Ross died at the age of 52 on July 4,1995, in Orlando, Florida, due to complications from lymphoma.


Bob Ross's remains are interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, Florida, under a plaque marked "Bob Ross; Television Artist".


Bob Ross kept his diagnosis a secret from the general public.


Bob Ross's lymphoma was not known outside of his circle of family and friends until after his death.


The Kowalskis countered that virtually everything Bob Ross had done in his lifetime was a work for hire and thus Bob Ross had no right to bequeath them.


Bob Ross's likeness has become part of popular culture, with his image spoofed in television programs, films and video games like Family Guy, The Boondocks, Deadpool 2 and Smite.


Bob Ross was going to have a video game released on Wii, the Nintendo DS and PC, with development handled by AGFRAG Entertainment Group, although this never came to fruition.

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Newfound interest in Bob Ross occurred in 2015 as part of the launch of Twitch Creative.


The renewed interest in Bob Ross led to questions of where his paintings were located, given that more than a thousand works were created for The Joy of Painting.


In 2020, the makers of Magic: The Gathering announced a limited release of Bob Ross paintings adapted to card artwork.


The Twitch streams created a new interest in Bob Ross and caused his popularity to grow.


Many viewers found that listening to Bob Ross triggered an ASMR response.