Wasn't he also mean to Julia Roberts on Steel Magnolias? What's his story?
That's interesting. He directed the musical numbers in 'Funny Girl' and went on to direct Barbra in "The Owl and The Pussycat" and "Funny Lady". He did a great job with Pussycat, and a terrible job with Funny Lady. Had no idea he was a bastard to work with.
I'm sure Sally took Julia into her trailer where Julia cried and Sally spoke emphatically and compassionately about perseverance and how Lee Strasberg taught her to use all the upset in her work.
Despite the fact that he was known for bringing out superb performances from his female stars, Ross was famous as well for berating them into giving those superb performances. Among his other "Victims" besides Dame Maggie who complained about him, either at the time or since:
Jane Fonda in "California Suite"
Dyan Cannon and Joan Hackett in "The Last of Sheila"
Leslie Browne in "The Turning Point"
Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton in "Steel Magnolias"
Drew Barrymore in "Boys on the Side"
He was by all accounts not a nice man as a director, choreographer or human being, as well as being a (barely) closeted homosexual. Read Arthur Laurents' autobiography for much more...
I think it's really weird that he as a closeted gay man directed Boys On The Side at all.
How did Shirley MacLaine deal with him?
Laurents also claimed that Ross cut all the gay characters and subtext out of "The Turning Point" - a movie about ballet, f'chrissakes, where most of the men ARE gay.
He married Lee Radizwell? Why?
His other ballet film 'Nijinski' in 1980 I think, is hilariously awful - being the wrong time for a movie about gay ballet people. He has Alan Bates kissing Nijinski through a hanky, to avoid germs - thats how pussy-footing it was.