Ted Ross
-- Broadway entertainer from Dayton

Bio files

  DDN photo by Ty Greenlees
  Tedd Ross is best known for his role as the cowardly lion in both the Broadway musical and the movie version of "The Wiz," for which he won a Tony.
  He also appeared in several television shows, including a regular role in the Cosby spinoff, "A Different World."
  Ross grew up in Dayton, where he had his first taste of performance. He returned in 1997 to open his own club, "Your Place."

Background on Ted Ross:

Born: in Zanesville, c.1934 , and came to Dayton when he was seven.
Family: His mother, Elizabeth Russell, was a singer in nightclubs in Zanesville under the stage name Betsy Ross. .
Education: He attended Roosevelt High School, but didn't graduate.

   Ross served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. During a furlough back to Dayton he won an amateur night competition at the Top Hat bar on Germantown St., singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow."
  After his discharge in 1953, Ross worked as a singer and emcee in clubs and also joined a singing group called "The Fabulous Tones."
Theatre: Later, he won parts in off-Broadway musicals, and then worked up to bigger productions, including "Purlie," "Raisin in the Sun," and "Daddy Goodness."
  His Broadway career reached a peak in 1975 when he was cast as the cowardly lion in "The Wiz." He won both a Tony Award and a New York Drama Desk award for his performance in the role. When the musical was made into a movie, Ross again won the part, sharing the stage with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
Movies: In addition to "The Wiz," Ross also had roles in both "Arthur" movies, "The Fisher King," "Ragtime" and "Bingo Long and his Traveling All-Stars."
Television: Ross had guest spots on "Benson", "The Jeffersons," "Sesame Street," and "The Cosby Show." When Cosby spun off Lisa Bonet's character in "A Different World," Ross had a recurring role as the college dean.
Return to Dayton: In 1997, Ted Ross returned to Dayton to open his own club, at 1326 W. Third St., to be called "Your Place, Featureing Ted Ross's Lion's Den."

NBC photo

  Ross was a regular on the Cosby spinoff, "A Different World," co-starring Lisa Bonet, center.
  He also did guest spots on "Benson," "The Jeffersons" and other shows.

   `I was in junior high and a little big for my age. I even had a moustache,'Ross remembered. `I'd block my hat like my father's and go over to the OwlClub on Fifth and Horace streets. Because of my deportment - uhhh, in otherwords, I was cool - they would let me in.
   `I'd get a `chimney glass' full of Coca-Cola with a slice of orange hookedon the lip and a cherry - this all looked very adult. I'd sit there in myshades, cross my legs and listen to the music.'

-- Ted Ross, recalling Dayton's Harlem-like Fifth Street club scene of the late 1940's.

File created: 1-23-1997

DDN 7-30-1987, "Ross will share limelight"
DDN 2-24-1990, "Ted Ross brings act home (well, almost)."
DDN 1-12-1997, "His place is in Dayton," by Khalid Moss.