There are some celebrities and public figures who are pretty much universally loved. Even if you aren't the biggest fans of a particular person's work or tune in to see everything that they do, you just can't bring yourself to dislike that person or decry what they're doing, because the very act of doing so goes against every wholesome human instinct. I'd argue that Bob Ross is one of those people, but what happened to the Joy of Painting host?
What happened to Bob Ross that transformed him from military man to beloved "hippie" painter?
Robert Norman Ross created The Joy of Painting, which aired on PBS in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Europe from 1983 until 1994.
He was born to Jack and Ollie Ross in Daytona Beach, Fla. His mother was a waitress and his father was a carpenter. As a young boy, he would care for injured animals — everything from snakes, alligators, armadillos, and even squirrels.
Bob wasn't too keen on completing high school and dropped out in the ninth grade, but he kept busy. He began working as a carpenter with his father and lost part of his left index finger while working on a job with him. After he turned 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a medical records technician. His work ethic paid off and he was promoted to the role of Master Sergeant; he was the First Sergeant of the clinic at the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
Since he was Florida-born and raised (Daytona Beach to Orlando), he saw snow for the first time in person after relocating to Alaska. It was on duty there when he was able to develop his quick painting techniques, something he worked on during short breaks.
His stint in the military is actually what helped to condition his trademark soft-spoken voice. He was tired of being, "the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work."
Bob was in the Air Force for 20 years and it was at an U.S.O. art class in Anchorage where he first picked up his love for the artistic medium. He reportedly got in arguments with painting instructors for being "too abstract" with their instruction, stating, "They'd tell you what makes a tree, but they wouldn't tell you how to paint a tree."
In addition to working in the military, Ross also took on a position as a part-time bartender — and that's when he first learned of The Magic of Oil Painting, a show that was hosted by Bill Alexander, a German painter who used the alla prima painting style or "first attempt." This "wet on wet" style, when done correctly, would allow an artist to create a painting in about