In its first year of operation, the business lost ,000 (about ,000 today).With money tight, Ross made the bizarre decision to have his hair permed, exchanging the military crew cut he’d sported for two decades for his now iconic afro.
Ross’ reasoning was that if he permed his hair, he’d save money in the long run because he’d no longer need to pay to have his hair trimmed once a week.
Ross kept the ‘fro for the rest of his life, though grew to dislike it in his later years.
With that out of the way, lets talk about the little we do know definitively about Bob Ross’ life and how he became the cultural icon he is today.
Born in Daytona Florida in 1942, Ross was the child of a carpenter (Jack) and a waitress (Ollie) who separated, married other people, separated from those new partners and then got married to each other again all before their son had hit his teens.
While working for the company, Ross’ hypnotic, soporific voice and gentle, prodding style that emphasised that there were “no mistakes, just happy accidents” caught the attention of a lady called Annette Kowalski who later admitted that she was simply “mesmerised” by Ross’ personality.
After a few lessons with Ross, Kowalski became convinced that if she could somehow “package” the experience of painting with him, she and Ross could make a fortune.A further hurdle for those looking to write about Ross is that his company, Bob Ross, Inc, today is fiercely protective of their intellectual property and Bob Ross’ privacy, even in death.One of the few things they’ve authorised that would come close to an “official” biography of his life is a documentary titled “” that can be viewed by pledging money to PBS or by tracking down a copy of the DVD, which is exactly what I had to end up doing to fill in the huge gaps of what I could find elsewhere about the elusive Bob Ross.This is partially because, for some reason, nobody ever really asked Bob Ross to do any interviews and he only gave a handful of them over the course of his life. In fact, Ross was so hard to find that PBS once lost track of him, though it would seem few, if anybody, noticed, until Ross called to let them know he’d moved to Orlando after the fact.In fact, in one of the surprisingly few quotes from the man himself that don’t come from his show, he stated “I never turn down requests for interviews. As a result of Ross’ love of privacy, coupled with the apathetic attitude of interviewers back then, details about his life are notoriously hazy and difficult to nail down to the point that even the book, “.After a while, Ross began making more money from selling paintings and offering people art lessons than he was from his day job in the military.