Conocido por: Visual Effects
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Ross was born in Zanesville, Ohio, but his mother, Elizabeth Russell, a nightclub singer in the 1920s and 1930s, moved the family to Dayton when young Ross was seven. He loved the clubs on West Fifth Street—Dayton’s answer to Harlem in the first half of the 20th century. While in junior high, Ross, who was big for his age, would dress up and strut into the Owl Club and The Palace Theater's Midnight Rambles to see great acts such as Duke Ellington. His nightclub exploits as a teenager were not very popular at home. He dropped out of Roosevelt High in 1950 and enlisted in the United States Air Force. Two years later at age eighteen, Ross entered an amateur night contest at the Top Hat bar on Germantown Street. Home on furlough, he sang a cover of Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow", won $5 that night and found his calling. After leaving the military, Ross worked his way from Great Falls, Montana, to a strip bar in Los Angeles as a singer and MC. There he landed his first stage role in Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Bigtime Buck White". The musical began as a workshop in Watts and moved to New York City in 1968. He starred in The Wiz and other Broadway productions, such as Purlie, Ain't Misbehavin, and Raisin in the Sun. His first film was The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, a baseball movie starring James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor. Films that followed included Ragtime, Amityville II, Police Academy, Stealing Home, and The Fisher King. One of the roles he is most fondly remembered for is that of Bitterman, Arthur Bach's long suffering chauffeur in the 1981 Dudley Moore hit, Arthur.In 1990, Ross played Troy Maxson in a Cincinnati production of August Wilson's Fences. It was the first time his family saw him perform on stage since the contest in 1952. He came home to Dayton, Ohio for good in 1997 and opened Your Place, a jazz club on West Third Street. Occasionally, Ross sat in and sang in his club, and performed as part of the Dayton Art Institutes's Just Jazz series.
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