Bob Ross Hated His Hair :: And 16 Other Facts

Every night we tuck into bed with London and watch Bob Ross. I always think, “I’m almost certain I can do this!” Then I tell myself that there are thousands of people watching this and telling themselves the same thing.



So, as you pout along with me, realizing that we will never “have some fun” or paint a happy little tree, check out these fun facts about the wonderful painter:

 1. Bob was a drill instructor in the Air Force.He served for twenty years. This, they say, is why he spoke so softly on his show. He said he’d had enough of yelling in his life.

2. Bob’s father was a carpenter. In his youth, Bob was working with his father and cut off one of his fingers while working with a saw (left index finger). He kept this hidden while holding his pallet during the TV show, The Joy of Painting.

3. Bob left school after 9th grade to work in carpentry with his father. When he turned 18, and one less finger, he joined the Air Force.

4. Almost no one ever tuned in to paint along with Bob. Instead, it was just his soft spoken voice and the peacefulness of watching him paint that caused people to tune in. His show was a great comfort to those that couldn’t leave their homes for one reason or another.

5. His hair was permed. He had humble beginnings and needed to save money, so perming his  hair kept him from requiring too many hair cuts. Later though, Bob ended up hating his bouffant but sadly realized it had already become some sort of iconic feature of his public image. Later in his career when he underwent treatments for cancer, Bob lost his hair and wore a wig for filming.

6. Bob’s studio was in his basement where hundreds of postcards, calendar pictures, and snap shots of scenery sent in from fans littered the floor for inspiration.

7. Bob hardly sold any of his paintings. Instead, he donated them to PBS for fundraisers and donor drives. He also did not like the idea of his work hanging in art museums.

8. Over the course of his lifetime, it is estimated that Bob painted 30,000 oil paintings.

9. Bob never requested that PBS pay him. He made his income through other avenues. I would explain this, but the mystery is more adventurous, eh? Was it stripping? Selling drugs? XP

10. Oh, fine. One source of income was his own line of paints made for his specific style of “wet on wet’ oil painting. He marketed all kinds of art tools and hosted workshops and taught in schools. He firmly believed that anyone could learn to paint, which is why he was not well loved by fellow artists.

11. Bob filmed an entire season of his show within a day or two. HE WAS THAT FAST!

12. As a boy, he nursed a sick alligator back to health. Bob loved all the creatures of the world.

13. Oh, hey, Bob was so hip that he shot some jokester ads for MTV back in the 80’s. Look it up. Hilarious!

14. Trees? Did he like trees? Well 91% of his paintings contained at least one tree.

15. On July 4, 1995, Bob died of lymphoma. He was only 54 years old.

16. His grave is more famous than Andy Worhol’s.

So there you are, folks. And remember, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Maybe, in our world, we all become a little like Bob Ross…soft spoken, gentle and humble.

Yeah. That looks right. I like that.

Today, let's just have some fun. Just kinda let your imagination go crazy--having a good time. 



  1. Artistic Air Force Veteran who's father was a carpenter? I can relate. Go Air Force.. RIP Bob.

    1. Ha! I hadn't thought of that. Missing the permed hair, I imagine. And currently have all ten fingers.

  2. I have actually always liked my hair and am glad it is still on my head (and as yet does not require Yes I can still count to ten without removing my shoes and no longer working in the machinist field so should stay that way. I think you could paint Happy trees kiddo even though the last thing(s) I recall you painting with oils were yourself, your mother's couch and chair. Perhaps London can help direct you in placing the paints on a more suitable canvas..:D Predicting you should receive funds soon to obtain a good starter oil set.. God Bless and continue pursuing your multiple talents.(have no idea how so much talent can come from one person.)