Who is Annette Kowalski? Bob Ross documentary sparks interest

Amber Peake August 25, 2021
Who is Annette Kowalski? Bob Ross documentary sparks interest
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Super 8


A new documentary looking back on the life and career of celebrated painter and artist Bob Ross was released today (Wednesday, 25 August). Some are now curious to know more about Annette Kowalski, the artist’s former business partner.

Who is Annette Kowalski?

Annette Kowalski is best known alongside husband Walt Kowalski as business partners of late painter and artist Bob Ross.

Kowalski 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 later helped launch Bob’s career on-screen after her husband Walt suggested they create a commercial to promote Ross’ classes.

They ended up taking the tape to their local PBS station, where the manager recruited Ross on the spot for a new TV series now known as The Joy Of Painting.

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Super 8
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Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed | Official Trailer | Netflix

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed | Official Trailer | Netflix
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Where is Annette Kowalski now?

Following the success of his PBS painting series the company Bob Ross Inc was launched, which sold art-based merchandise, including painting materials such as paint and brushes.

Bob Ross passed away in 1995 at the age of 52, due to lymphoma, and at the time the company was said to have been worth millions. According to The Wealth Advisor, Ross’ estimated worth before his death was $1.3 million, with half of that tied to Bob Ross Inc.

Following Ross’ death, there was a legal battle over his legacy, which new Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed looks back on.

The Daily Beast reported in May that, as of 2012, Annette and Walt Kowalski had stepped down from their roles at Bob Ross Inc, with the company now run by their daughter Joan.

However, during an interview with Mental Floss in 2015, Annette Kowalski was still happy to talk about the company.

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Where to watch the Bob Ross documentary

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed was produced by Netflix, meaning the documentary is exclusive to the popular streaming platform.

Netflix teased the upcoming release on Tuesday, 17 August as it posted a 35-second clip on how the platform wanted to “share the trailer but couldn’t”. It also featured an unknown voice saying: “I’ve been wanting to get this story out for all these years.”

The documentary is available to watch on Netflix from today (Wednesday, 25 August).

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Amber is a freelance writer on The Focus who mainly covers anything celeb, music, and entertainment related. Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Brunel University in 2020, she has spent the last two years reporting the latest celeb news and pop culture trends across leading and national publishers. Starting her career at Express.co.uk as a showbiz reporter, Amber began contributing on The Focus in 2021. As well as her work on the site, she has also written across other GRV Media publications, including both Reality Titbit and HITC. When she's not scrolling endlessly on TikTok, you'll find Amber wrapped up in yet another DIY crafting project.