A NEW documentary looking back on the life and career of celebrated painter and artist Bob Ross has dropped on Netflix.
Some viewers are now curious to know more about Annette and Walt Kowalski, the artist’s former business partners.
Who are Annette and Walt Kowalski
Annette and husband Walt Kowalski are best known for being business partners of late painter and artist Bob Ross.
Annette first met Ross following the death of her son, who died as the result of a car accident.
While suffering depression, she started watching German painter Bill Alexander, who had a TV show on PBS.
Her husband Walt went on to inquire about Annette having painting lessons with Alexander but was told he was no longer teaching.
However, she would later attend a five-day class in Clearwater, Florida, featuring Bob Ross and the pair soon partnered up after she was “mesmerised” by his talent.
Annette then helped launch Bob’s career on-screen after Walt suggested they create a commercial to promote Ross’ classes.
They ended up taking the tape to their local PBS station, where the manager hired bob on the spot for a new TV series now known as The Joy Of Painting.
Annette and Walt then entered into a business partnership with Bob and his then-wife, Jane, in 1985.
Bob Ross Inc. then expanded to selling art supplies and other products under Bob’s name.
What happened between Bob Ross and Annette and Walt Kowalski?
The Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed alleges that Bob and Annette had an affair – something which the Kowalski family strongly says is completely false.
It’s reported the issue between the Kowalskis and Bob started after the painter’s wife died of cancer in the early ’90s.
Following her death, her quarter-portion of the company was divided equally between the three surviving partners, making Bob a minority vote in a company that profited off his name.
The struggle reportedly continued into the ’90s, as Bob became unwell himself with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In the documentary, Bob’s son says he remembers his father desperately making efforts to keep his name and likeness from being turned over to the Kowalski family.
Where are Annette and Walt Kowalski now?
Annette and Walt are now retired.
In 2012, the couple passed on the company’s responsibility to their daughter Joan Kowalski, who was previously a media director.
The company is headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, which is where Annette and Walt live.