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Thu, 02.14.1946

A complete entertainer, Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines

*The birth of Gregory Hines is marked on this date in 1946. He was an African American tap dancer, choreographer, dramatic and comic actor, singer, and director.

From New York City he became involved in show business as a toddler. Hines was the brother of actor/dancer Maurice Hines. When he was two, his father had him in a dance act with his older brothers. Hines polished his dancing skills with master tap dancer Henry Le Tang. He was five when his father teamed Gregory with his big brother, Jake, to form the Hines Kids and later the Hines Brothers. The siblings spent much of their early careers dancing at the Apollo Theater and learned from such famed fellow performers as the Nicholas Brothers and Sandman Sims.

In 1954, at eight years old, he debuted on Broadway in the musical The Girl in Pink Tights. In 1963, they became Hines, Hines and Dad, which started a ten-year stretch on the nightclub circuit and on television. They also went abroad. In 1973, he left his brother and father's act to form a jazz-rock group called Severance. He eventually came back to New York, where later that same year he launched a distinguished Broadway career that earned him a Tony (for playing Jelly Roll Morton in George C. Wolfe's musical tribute Jelly's Last Jam in 1992), three additional Tony nominations, and a Theater World Award.

Hines made his feature-film debut in The History of the World, Pt. I. In film, Hines proved himself a versatile actor and starred in musical dramas (The Cotton Club and White Nights), to straight dramas (The Preacher's Wife), comedy (Renaissance Man), sci-fi horror (Wolfen), and action films (Running Scared). In 1994, Hines directed Bleeding Hearts. Musically he released an album, simply titled Gregory Hines, in 1987. Ten years later he starred in the family comedy The Gregory Hines Show. Though short-lived, he was seen on TV’s Will and Grace. In addition, he did voice work for the Blues Clues Adventure, Big Blue's Treasure Hunt and the children's series Little Bill. Hines also appeared in Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000), and Bojangles (2001), in which he portrayed the title role of legendary dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Hines made his final film appearance in the 2003 feature The Root.

On August 9, 2003, Gregory Hines died of cancer in Los Angeles. He was 57. The lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor.

Reference:
Jet Magazine
Johnson Publishing
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