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
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.