Has Bob Ross, the artist with his own show on PBS, died? If so, when and from what?
—Rita S., Tennessee
Yes, the smooth-voiced host of PBS' The Joy of Painting died in 1995 from cancer. He was 52. The always smiling, bushy-haired, velvet-voiced, bearded host encouraged viewers to pick up a brush, insisting that they could easily create their own artwork by following his instructions. He'd urge the beginning painter to make "happy little clouds" or "pretty mountains," insisting that anyone could paint a landscape by following the directions on his half-hour program. The show began airing on PBS in the early 1980s and quickly snowballed into an entire industry of books, art supplies, and art classes where the Bob Ross method was taught. That business is still going strong, and the television show still airs on many PBS stations. Ross is survived by his son, Steven, a Bob Ross instructor who often appeared on the show.