Where Are They Now?


Art Ross

Arthur Mitchell "Art" Ross was born June 24, 1923 in New York City. He enjoyed performing from an early age and got his first radio job at age 10, working as a child actor on programs including "Let's Pretend," where he shared the mike with other youngsters including Sidney Lumet and June Allyson. At age 13, Art became the youngest emcee ever to host a network radio quiz show.

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army as a member of the Signal Corps, where he worked mainly as a cryptographer and radio broadcaster. He served in New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and occupied Japan. After four years was discharged at the rank of Tech Sgt. On returning to New York, he worked in live radio as an actor and emcee and soon became a morning man/disc jockey.

At the time, his parents had just moved in to a brand new six-floor apartment building in Elmhurst, L.I. They lived on the second floor and recent college graduate Ruthe Steinberg lived with her folks on the sixth floor. Art and Ruthe were married in June, 1947. They remained together for 42 years and six children.

Art worked at radio stations in Butler, Pa., Baltimore, Md. (where his eldest son Bob was born), Akron, OH (where his son Lee and daughter Betsy were born), Norfolk, Va. and back to Baltimore (where Martha was born). In 1955, the family came to Florida. Art worked at WFTL and WWIL in Ft. Lauderdale (where daughter Jackie was born) and then moved to Ocala (Melissa, the baby), where he was program director at WTMC and later at WKOS.

As a radio man, Art was known for his terrific humor. His timing was always perfect. He studied the radio medium and loved making people smile. He was also outstanding with all kinds of accents, and sponsors always loved his custom-made spots, which featured character voices, funny scripts and well-produced sound effects and music. He voiced the famous “Bonella et Gilfardo” series written by Tom Clarke, one of the funniest bits ever aired on local radio (970 WFLA 1972).

Then he became interested in sales and management. After a stint as a salesman with a statewide Florida news network, Art became a salesman and sales manager at WMBR in Jacksonville. About 1970, he joined the sales department at WFLA-AM in Tampa, where he eventually became national sales manager. During that time he served as an officer and president of the Tampa Ad Federation, helping to organize their annual Creative Seminars for a decade. He retired in 1979 and opened the first video rental store in Tampa. He owned and operated Tampa Video Station until 1987, when he retired for good.

Art died on June 28, 1989. His kids still love to get together and reminisce about him.

Copyright © 2004 By TEDD WEBB • All Rights Reserved