Most celebrities are profoundly disappointing in real life. The dude who's up on screen saving the world from an alien invasion is in real life a self-centered douchebag who spends his off-hours berating wait staff for serving his foie gras at the wrong temperature. That's why we love to point out those rare occasions when famous people turn out to be way more badass than what their public image would have you believe. For example ...
5Bob Ross Was a Sergeant in the Air Force
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images/Bob Ross, Inc.
Aside from maybe Jesus, famed painter Bob Ross was pretty much the nicest person who ever lived. His Joy of Painting show, featuring Ross and his happy little clouds and trees, was the greatest art tutorial/electronic babysitter/sleep aid one could ask for.
When we said he was nice, we fucking meant it. He was always smiling, always full of positive reinforcement for any viewers trying to paint along. His voice never rose above that of a gentle lullaby, everything he did on the show was for free, and he donated his art to various PBS stations that aired his show, in order to help raise funds. Oh, and he bottle-fed orphaned baby animals, on the air. The man was, for all intents and purposes, a saint.
As it turns out, there was a very good reason he was so mellow: He spent 20 years screaming his lungs out, as a first sergeant for the United States Air Force ... and hated it. He was said to be "the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work." That's right. The sweetest, kindest, most lovable character on TV this side of Mister Rogers spent half his life cosplaying as Sgt. Slaughter.
"And maybe down in these trees, Charlie is hiding out, ready to gut you like a carp."
No photos exist of Sgt. Ross back in those days, and the man 100 percent liked it that way. He had said that the reason he ultimately told the military to go screw off was because he was forced to be "a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore."
Fortunately for him, Ross spent much of his non-screaming time speed-painting the Alaskan wilderness around him. Soon, he became really good (and fast) at it and found that he could make more money selling his paintings than yelling at cadets for not having their boots properly spit-shined. He promptly quit the military, vowed to never scream again, and focused solely on breezy paintings and baby animals.
Though that doesn't explain why animals always marched in step behind him.
So there you have it. All those gentle drawings of fluffy clouds and serene landscapes actually stemmed from two decades of rage, anger, and hatred. But you know what? We think that was all still there, to the very end. If you don't believe us, just remember: The man painted with a goddamned knife.
"Don't fuck with me. I can make your death look like a happy little accident."