Dead: July 4th, 1995
High of His Life: Bob Ross was not only a talented American painter, he was an art instructor and a television host. It’s pretty hard to say that he didn’t have a very high life. He is best known as the creator and host of the instructional art show The Joy of Painting on PBS. The show aired on January 11th, 1983 and continued until May 17th, 1994. It still airs re-runs to this day. It can be assumed that he is largely responsible for why Americans want to oil paint.
Ross is often considered the art instructor version of Mr. Rogers. And on top of that he was a multimillionaire. He built a business selling art supplies and how-to books, as well as taught classes using his own coined “Bob Ross method.” The man may have spoken like a gentle otter, but he was definitely a businessman.
Low of His Life: Well, he did have a rivalry with his once-teacher William Alexander. Alexander had his own public TV series called The Magic World of Oil Painting, which lasted from the 1970s up until the year before Ross’ show aired. As his business expanded Alexander felt Ross stole his technique and sold it as his own. That’s awkward. Some may say he’s the GaGa to Alexander’s Madonna, since many claim he was better, albeit “newer.” Also, it doesn’t help his first marriage ended in divorce, his second wife died of cancer in 1993, and then he developed lymphona and died a few years later.
Who Sees Him As A Hero: “Happy” trees, late night TV addicts, oil painters, and the world.