What You Never Noticed About Bob Ross' Hands

Painter Bob Ross touched the lives of many Americans with his soothing television program, The Joy of Painting, which ran on PBS in the 1980s and 1990s. The soft-spoken painter has recently made a comeback in popularity since the TV show is now streaming on Netflix, so an entire new generation of people is discovering Ross's art and simplistic life advice. "You know without question that we don't make mistakes here. We just have happy accidents," as one of Ross's famous phrases goes.

But while his fans have become familiar with Ross's many catchphrases and iconic permed hairdo, there are still a lot of things many people don't know about him. For example, Ross didn't ever actually love his signature haircut, and he first got into painting while serving in the U.S. Air Force, according to Good Housekeeping. Another lesser-known fact about Ross is that he was missing part of a finger.

A Happy Little Accident

If you pay extra attention while watching The Joy of Painting, you might spot the missing part of Ross's left index finger. While working with only nine complete fingers obviously didn't affect Ross's talent and technique, the story of how he lost it is still an interesting one. According to Biography, Ross dropped out of high school in ninth grade to work with his father as a carpenter. During this time as a carpenter, he had a freak saw accident and lost part of his left index finger. The reason even the most avid Ross fans have probably never noticed the missing finger is that Ross held his palette in his left hand, so unless you were really looking hard for it, you'd never see it.

If anything, Ross joins the ranks of other great artists missing a body part, including Jerry Garcia and his missing middle finger and, of course, Vincent van Gogh and his missing ear.