What Happened To Steve Ross, The Son Of Bob Ross?

We probably all know and most likely love Bob’s son Steve. Bob Ross mentioned Steve several times during ‘The Joy Of Painting’, talking about how his son makes a pretty penny selling his masterpieces.
Steve appeared in no less than 13 episodes on ‘The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross’, most noteably in the final episode of the first season, ‘Final Reflections’, where he helps his father by reading questions from viewers, which the old master answers. Besides his appearance in this Q&A style episode he also painted 12 other original paintings for the show.

Steve also quickly became a fan favorite during the Twitch livestream and on Tumblr because of his double entendres, such as “pound it into the brush real good”, “it can be dirty, it doesn’t have to be clean. Oh yeah, sure, tell me more”, or “It’s getting bigger all the time. Oh no, it’s huge. Look at that, it’s a monster!”. Combined with his heavenly voice, the hair and his mustache it is no surprise that Steve Ross was quickly titled Tumblr’s Sex God.

Jokes aside, what really happened to Steve Ross after the death of his father Bob?

It seems like Steve cut every and all ties to the public and went completely underground. Besides the obvious results like the YouTube videos of his appearances on his father’s TV show there are almost no traces of him to be found on the internet. One of the only sources that mention Steve is an announcement of the death of his late father.

The New York Times wrote in an obituary for Bob Ross that “he is survived by his son, Steven, of Ronkonkoma, L.I.”. It seems like Steven (or Steve for short) left Florida to live in the state of New York.

From this obituary it is also known that Steve became a Bob Ross-certified instructor, but after checking lists of practicing instructors it appears that he is no longer teaching people to paint. It is also not known if Steve still paints at all. One of Bob’s oldest friends however stated on his private Facebook page that Steven was still painting the last time they have spoken, but this was around 10 years ago now. Another commenter said that she believes Steve is doing software work now. Further questions about Steve’s whereabouts however remain met with silence.

It seems that Steve Ross does not want to be in the spotlight, as he is completely untraceable on social media or the internet in general. According to this book Steve also has no part in the Bob Ross company and rumor has it that he and the executives did not part on friendly terms after the death of Bob Ross in 1995.

Wherever Steve Ross might be now, we wish him the very best.


71 Replies to “What Happened To Steve Ross, The Son Of Bob Ross?”

  1. I’m watching Steve right now on an episode of his dad’s show, the Joy of Painting. Not surprisingly, he is painting some massive mountains, which his dad always said Steve could paint better than anyone else. I watch Bob Ross’s show very frequently, as much for the paintings he creates as for the sound of his voice, which I always find soothing and calm. It’s a good show to watch at the end of the day when you need to wind down and get ready for bed. I highly recommend it.

    1. One thing I’ve noticed about people on the internet today is that they love to be negative and hate on things and people that make the world a more beautiful place. Unfortunately, Bob Ross has become another target for the simple minded haters out there that have nothing better to do than talk bad about him, saying he wasn’t a real artist or whatever other nonsense they say. The fact is, he was an amazing artist, teacher and human being that obviously loved what he did. He was able to bring joy and happiness to the world and we would all benefit if we tried to do the same. Haters are always going to hate and when they do, we have to do our best to ignore them and continue to be positive, just as Bob would have done.

      1. You are so right. Bob was a fantastic painter and teacher. He taught my third week of completing classes to come a certified Bob Ross Instructor. What an amazing painter and and teacher. he became a good friend and I painted with him in Florida and in Central Park, New York City. He and Annette were so like to you..we had good times with other instructors.
        Steve was the first teacher along with Dana Jester. Both were great. I pay no attention to the negative people–they will tear down anything these days. I’m not teaching any more, but it was a fantastic experience..Thank you Bob. I miss you.

      2. Your comments are right on. If I had the power, I would shut down the internet as my first order of business. The trolls will go back into their miserable shells and people’s anger will subside. It was so much better back in the day when outsiders didn’t have the means to infiltrate the minds of Americans, especially the naive and ignorant ones. We would have to rely on print, TV and the library. That suits me just fine.

      3. That’s sad because they are doing the same thing to Thomas Kinkade all negative. I loved to watch Bob Ross paint on Joys of Painting show and sadly miss it. And I love putting together a puzzle of one of Thomas Kinkade paintings, they are the hardest to do. They are two of my favorite artists. Great men!

      1. My mom and I used to watch Mr. Bob’s shows and we would just “ooh!” and “ahh” at how easy he made it look. Mom painted now and then and was commissioned for a few pieces. I would like to think that she and Mr. Bob are in Heaven, painting lots of happy trees!

      2. I just introduced my 4 yr old and my 10 yr old to The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, we are watching you paint mountains on the show right now, Steve! Your dad was an Amazing painter and so are you. Thank you for sharing the Joy with me and my children. God Bless!

      3. You did a fantastic job on your fathers last shows think about doing it again god has given you a wonderful talent please use it god bless

      4. Where have you been? You should have continue the legacy of your father… painting on the TV series. It was great.

      5. God Bless! You are a great artist! Live by your own values. God gave you a gift, must be for a mission!

      6. Steven– I hope you continue painting. You obviously loved your father and are sad that he is gone too soon from life, but he would have been sad if his death somehow had damaged your life. Forget the business and money story. Build on your experience with him and move on. Don’t stop painting. Be your best at whatever path you choose. Make him happy. He is still with us, watching, loving, and proud of you. He has been a great inspiration to me. God bless!

  2. In the 80’s and 90’s I used to go to bed at 1 in the afternoon. Sure enough Bob would put me into that alpha wave state within 10 minutes. It’s a great way to feel and I would fight to stay awake until about 5 minutes were left.
    I bought all of his stuff back then but was disappointed that my first and only 2 paintings weren’t perfect.
    I cut myself no slack. I didn’t allow myself any time to get better. (In retrospect, very immature of me).
    Fast forward and in April of 2018 I’m giving it another shot.
    I probably have a couple of hundred hours at the easel and I can tell that I’m actually close to liking 1 of my paintings enough to sign it and give it as a gift.

    See what 30 years of growing up does? (I was almost 30 yes. old in ’90).

  3. I’ll agree, his voice is very soothing and usually I end up asleep or ready to go to sleep. Another thing I have noticed about things from haters of Bob not being a real artist or a very good painter, and that Ross didn’t come up with the wet-on-wet style and such, that it was William “Bill” Alexander who started the style. In the very first “Joy of painting” episode, Bob acknowledges Bill Alexander as his friend, mentor and teacher of this style. And again in the first episode of season 2, Bob again acknowledges Bill Alexander, so the haters saying the things about Bob did or didn’t need to go back and check out season 1 episode 1, and also season 2 episode 1, and they will hear Bob acknowledge Bill Alexander for the style!
    Ok, rant over! LOL But yes, his voice is very relaxing!

        1. He has a YouTube e channel with pretty much all the episodes. Its completely free. I use that since I burned through what Netflix had of him.

          1. If you have Amazon Prime, you can gat seasons 10 through 31 of his show.

    1. Bill Alexander didn’t exactly invent wet-on- wet painting. It is a technique that dates back hundreds of years.

    2. Thank you for putting people straight on Bob Ross!!! By the way, he was an absolutely gifted and amazing painter! I truly cannot understand how anyone could say anything else!

    3. Bill Alexander did not invent the wet on wet method of painting. Frans Hal and Rembrandt used the method in the middle 1600’s.

    4. bill didn’t invent wet on wet. also bill and bob’s relationship was strained because bill was really jealous and angry at bob for being more famous than him. how petty.. can’t even be happy for your student. that’s the whole point of being a teacher/mentor

    5. well far as that goes he got that voice stlye from bill also.all the funny happy lil trees bill started that limbo but nothing goes to far when one does another bad and bill did go fatrher in diff things and bob took all bills art supplies and put his name on them but had to re name magic white to liquid white
      to keep from being sued by bill

    6. it is true that Bob Ross studied under William Alexander. What isn’t true is that Alexander was the first to use the wet-on-wet style of painting. it has been around for many years. Google Alla Prima Painting and you will see how wide-spread and long it’s been a way of painting. that being said, Bill Alexander did make some developments to it as did Bob Ross (think Liquid White, and developing the drier/thicker oil paints that work better for some of the process). and yes, Bob did dedicate his early seasons to Bill Alexander, but they had a falling out and he wasn’t mentioned again…

    1. +1 Steve could do a youtube painting show! Hint hint Steve… you and your fathers legacy are very loved. My son falls asleep to Bob every day for his nap.

    1. No offense, but you statement that you just spoke to him has little merit without some exppanation of how you came to do so, and the general nature of the relationship. Just saying “I talked to him last week” is something anyone can say about anyone else, even the dead. I do hope that Steve is well and healthy, and understand the desire for privacy. It IS my wish your post is true. … and that Steve is happy in life. There have been reports of his death 3 years before his dad, and at other times, but I assume incorrect.

      1. You can get it to Bob Ross studio we’re he lived and painted in Florida. I went there and they display his paintings he did while there pluse teach classes and sell his products

  4. Bob Ross’ paintings are a display of how painting has evolved since Monet and other former artists. Computers have evolved, athleticism , sports, everything, including automobiles have all evolved. You can’t compare Michael Angelo’s work, the Sistine Chapel, for example, or the Mona Lisa and other great paintings. It’s just a different era with different methods. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great painters today just because they aren’t talked about in Art History class in college. Bob Ross was a great painter of scenery and of nature. Because that’s what he loved to paint. Also a great teacher. There’s no need to compare him to painters from two or three hundred years or more ago. They all have their place in history. And yes, he has acknowledged Bill Alexander as his mentor, but Bill was a bit jealous of Bob.

  5. One of the best painters right now, same but ever more refined technique, is KEVIN HILLS. I love him too. His paintings are more vibrants with alot of easy details.

  6. Monet and Van Gogh among other painters of years ago used the wet on wet technique at some time or another. Bob Ross did not and Bill Alexander did not invent the method. They were both great teachers but not innovators. I love the way Bob Ross as well as his son Steve presented the technique.

  7. Bob Ross gave so much joy and love to us, his fans. I am still learning from him.
    Steve is gifted in the same way. Steve can offer more. I wish he would paint for us again and share his gifts to those who appreciate him.

  8. “Steve” is Robert Steven Ross who goes professionally by Robert Ross now and is in charge of nearly all of the Bob Ross merch you see havung aquired 100% of his dads likeness rights following a 2016 lawsuit against those infringing.

  9. I used to hang out with Steve back in 1990-91. He was living in Muncie,Indiana. He was doing some painting then but was on a dry spell. He didn’t talk about his Dad much,when he did,most of it was nice things.I was on the road a lot,I went out on the road for about a month(mid 1991)when I got back into Muncie,I was told Steve had moved to Chicago,he had met someone. I Have searched the internet but no luck.1991 was the last time I saw Steve.

  10. I was born in 1977 so I remember this show growing up. I love the song in the opening and closing credits of the show. It brings me back to my childhood.

  11. I suspect that PBS garnered as much profit from the series (if not all) and left his surviving family out in the cold. Who is handling the Youtube account and its profits? I hope his son is getting the benefits from it….

  12. It seems that Steve apparently didn’t want to replace his father, and this was according to someone who has posted in various places online including linkedin and YouTube as his mother Vicky Ross, Bob’s first wife (they divorced in 77). Steve decided after his Dad passed away just to completely shy from the public eye altogether, he didn’t want to be part of that world..

    From what Vicky has posted in various places (and these can be found easily by googling), apparently Lynda, the wife Bob married just months before his death, wouldn’t let Steve even contact his mother or let his mother know Bob was on his deathbed, that she was so controlling that when Bob eventually passed away, Steve wasn’t even allowed to phone his mum and tell her. Her belief is Lynda married Bob for the money. Vicky said Steve gave her a painting (one of the last he did) that was painted while his father was dying, that he said I was all he could give her because he hadn’t been allowed to contact her.

    There were mentions by “Vicky” that Steve doesn’t want to paint professionally anymore or to instruct, it reminds him too much of his father. She made mention I think on YouTube (if it is really her) that Steve had a falling out with the company, so the Bob Ross products people are buying, he has no hand in it. I think she also mentioned the network asked him to continue the show but he didn’t want to (and this is where it started to go bad and the network caused issues for him).

    By all accounts (the person claiming to be Vicky at least) , he’s a very successful CEO of a software firm in New York, as of two years ago, was 50 years old, still not married and still no children (much to her disappointment it seemed, although I’ve heard accounts Steve Ross does have a family of his own by people who “know him” as well.)

    Seems unless Steve comes out publically (on video or radio, podcast, etc) and talks about it, or Vicky comes out on video to talk about it, we’re never going to know the truth about any of it. Anyone can log online and say “I’m such and such”, but we can’t believe what’s being said without at least seeing some kind of proof. Right now, most of it is not much more than rumour.

  13. I watch Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting every day. I’m 67 yes. old and I’m going to start painting; thanks to Bob Ross’s show. He left us way too soon. Wish he was still with us.

  14. I remember the Bob Ross shows well. I still watch them almost every day with my granddaughter. I also dabble in painting and rather enjoy it for over 30 yrs now. Although most of my experience has been in drawing in charcoal and graphite for portraits as of late, I do enjoy painting and mostly base my paintings on the wet-on-wet style which works well. He had an amazing way of calming you to every degree and helping everyone to dip into the creative side and expressing themselves. I know Bob is with the almighty right now still enjoying painting in the heavenly style 🙂

  15. I have watched him all my life, and continue to watch him on Netflix. I absolutely love listening to his voice. Very calm and soothing. I actually have used his philosophy in my life. We don’t make mistakes, we have happy little accidents. How amazing is one persons outlook can help change anothers life is many ways. You are missed Bob.

  16. I was just wondering if they have put Mr. Ross’s “Joys Of Painting” programs on DVD to buy and if so where to buy them?

  17. Bill and Bob inspired me to paint…not just the wet on wet, but in many styles…I am sad to read that Steve was treated so badly, I DO hope he is still alive and happy, I dont need to know where he is, that’s his business, but by chance if he were to read this( which I doubt) I’d like to say one thing to him…I’m sorry ppl treated you badly, your father sure did love you and so do a lot of us…I DO hope you found happiness despite all the cruel, because the best revenge you can have on ppl is to be happy as you want to be…you deserved better than you got after ur dad passed away…I’m sorry for what was done to you, I know ur dad would not have allowed it…just so you know, you are both missed😥❤

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