Famous Last Words of Famous People
Talent Rally Highlights 2014 (Very Talented Kids…check out MJ!)
You know this popped into your head the first time you heard the song. Don’t deny it!
If You Haven’t Seen This…Shame On YOU!!! 🙂
Famous Last Words of Famous People
Talent Rally Highlights 2014 (Very Talented Kids…check out MJ!)
You know this popped into your head the first time you heard the song. Don’t deny it!
If You Haven’t Seen This…Shame On YOU!!! 🙂
The 1940’s were dominated by World War II and pulled the US out of the Great Depression. Women were needed in factories, agencies, companies and even baseball teams and the military to replace men who had gone off to war. Food, metals and various materials were rationed to help the Allies win against the Axis Powers that threatened the world. However, swingin’ new music from Glenn Miller, The Andrew Sisters, Artie Shaw, Count Basie and many others provided fast and up-beat songs for the latest dance crazes of the decade.
Glen Miller …. In The Mood (A tribute to the 1940’s)!
Andrews Sisters and Swing Dancing
The 1930’s was a time of celebration and hardship. Talking pictures were all the rage at the local theaters and radio became a household item where everyone could tune in to hear Orson Wells tell the American public of a pending alien invasion from War of the Worlds. The Depression sent many families into poverty and many businesses were closing up shop, but that didn’t stop America’s optimism and ingenious designers from opening the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge for the whole world to see. The 1930’s had its ups and downs throughout the decade but that didn’t stop people from dancing! Dances like the Foxtrot, Tap and the Waltz were becoming popular once again on the dance floor while others like the Jitterbug and Swing were just getting started!
A Dutch instructional film from 1930, demonstrating the ballroom Foxtrot of the time.
Keep Punchin Jitterbug Contest
Fred and Ginger – Waltz in Swing Time (Waltz, Tap and Swing all in one)
This next performance, Dinner / Dance 19 is taking a turn from our usual abstraction. Because the event is a multi-course dinner, and we are navigating subject matter from planting to eating, I realized a huge part of dining is the drama and dialogue we have on a daily basis while eating a meal. We’ve been working with some funny, and hopefully identifiable characters in rehearsal. And now it’s time to begin introducing you to them.
Allow us to introduce:
Gretchen Charise Kittridge
(aka Ashley Horn)
Gretchen started at Search Optimizer out of college. She accepted lower pay than she wanted because she was promised that she would move up quickly in the company, she was one of the first employees of the start-up. But has only had one promotion in 11 years. Comes early, stays late. Gretchen is only child of overachievers– Mother is a school superintendent and Father is an pediatric heart surgeon. She graduated with honors in 3 years with a degree in Marketing. Always planned on going back to law school, but can’t seem to find time. She’s not particularly liked at work, she’s a little bitter and hated by one of her colleagues. All she wants is fairness and the success she deserves. That’s not too much to ask, right?
Where would you find her when she’s not at work? Reading a book with a glass of wine. Maybe adopting another cat.
It’s long but worth the time. Stop bullying.
This is Hysterical! HAHAHA! (Frasier)
You get more negative reactions than positive reactions as you go through life, and the big lesson is nobody counts you out but yourself…I never have, I never will.
Buddy Ebsen began his career as a dancer in the late 1920s in a Broadway chorus. He later formed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma Ebsen, which also appeared on Broadway. In 1935 he and his sister went to Hollywood, where they were signed for the first of MGM’s Eleanor Powell movies, Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935). While Vilma retired from stage and screen shortly after this, Buddy starred in two further MGM movies with Powell. Two of his dancing partners were Frances Langford in Born to Dance (1936) and Judy Garland in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937). They were a little bit taller than Shirley Temple, with whom he danced in Captain January (1936). MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer offered him an exclusive contract in 1938, but Ebsen turned it down. In spite of Mayer’s warning that he would never get a job in Hollywood again, he was offered the role of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Ebsen agreed to change roles with Ray Bolger, who was cast as the Tin Man. Ebsen subsequently became ill from the aluminum make-up, however, and was replaced by Jack Haley. He returned to the stage, making only a few pictures before he got a role in the Disney production of Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955). After this, he became a straight actor, and later won more fame in his own hit series, The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Barnaby Jones (1973).
BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (Buddy & his sister Vilma)
Buddy Ebsen dancing 1978
Donald O’Connor and Buddy Ebsen (a RARE clip)
Got the nickname ‘Buddy’ from his aunt, so Christian changed his name to Buddy Ebsen.
Was a Boy Scout.
In the 1930s, Disney animators filmed him dancing in front of a grid to “choreograph”Wayne Allwine’s dance steps for the Silly Symphony cartoons.
Originally cast as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Buddy was hospitalized as a result of inhaling aluminum powder used as part of his make-up. One chorus of “We’re Off to See the Wizard” in the movie and soundtrack album retain Ebsen’s original vocals as the Tin Man, recorded before he was forced to leave the production. Because of the prolonged hospitalization, he was replaced by Jack Haley (whose reformulated make-up used pre-mixed aluminium dust), and Ebsen’s scenes were re-shot using Haley. Footage of Ebsen as the Tin Man still exists, and was included as an extra with the U.S. 50th anniversary video release of The Wizard of Oz (1939).
After seeing Ebsen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) wanted him to play family patriarch Jed Clampett. At the time, Ebsen was thinking of retiring, but the producers sent him a copy of the script, and he changed his mind.
Began his television series The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) at age 54.
Taught Judy Garland the shim-sham shimmy while they were at MGM.
Was a longtime friend of Dick Van Dyke, who hosted his memorial service on 30 August 2003.
He served in the Coast Guard during World War II as the executive officer on the Pocatello, a submarine chaser in the North Pacific.
Became a bestselling author at age 93.
Buddy Ebsen died on July 6, 2003. Just 3 weeks after his death, his longtime best friend, comedian Bob Hope, passed away.
Buddy Ebsen died just three months before his death, he celebrated his 95th birthday, on April 2.
John Wayne…doing the Jitterbug (Yes you read that correctly)
Wednesday Addams Teaches Lurch the Latest Dance Craze
Groucho Marx Dancing in A Day at the Races
Lucy VS. Ballet
The Carlton Dance
Unfortunately, Hollywood considers musical dancers as hoofers. Regrettable expression.
French ballet dancer Leslie Caron was discovered by the legendary MGM star Gene Kelly during his search for a co-star in one of the finest musicals ever filmed, the Oscar-winning An American in Paris (1951), which was inspired by and based on the music of George Gershwin. Leslie’s gamine looks and pixie-like appeal would be ideal for Cinderella-type rags-to-riches stories, and Hollywood made fine use of it. Combined with her fluid dancing skills, she became one of the top foreign musical artists of the 1950s, while her triple-threat talents as a singer, dancer and actress sustained her long after musical film’s “Golden Age” had passed.
Leslie Claire Margaret Caron was born in France on July 1, 1931. Her father, Claude Caron, was a French chemist, and her American-born mother, Margaret Petit, had been a ballet dancer back in the States during the 1920s. Leslie herself began taking dance lessons at age 11. She was on holidays at her grandparents’ estate near Grasse when the Allies landed on the 15th of August 1944. After the German rendition, she and her family went to Paris to live. There she attended the Convent of the Assumption and started ballet training. While studying at the National Conservatory of Dance, she appeared at age 14 in “The Pearl Diver,” a show for children where she danced and played a little boy. At age 16, she was hired by the renowned Roland Petit to join the Ballet des Champs-Elysees, where she was immediately given solo parts.
Leslie’s talent and reputation as a dancer had already been recognized when on opening night of Petit’s 1948 ballet “La Rencontre,” which was based on the theme of Orpheus and featured the widely-acclaimed dancer ‘Jean Babilee’, she was seen by then-married Hollywood couple Gene Kelly and Betsy Blair. Leslie did not meet the famed pair at the end of the show that night as the 17-year-old went home dutifully right after her performance, but one year later Kelly remembered Leslie’s performance when he returned to Paris in search for a partner for his upcoming movie musical An American in Paris (1951). The rest is history.
Lise – An American in Paris (1951)
Daddy Long Legs (1955) – Sluefoot – Leslie Caron & Fred Astaire
Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron- An American in Paris
One of the few actresses to have danced with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in the movies, other actresses that have also done this includes Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, Vera-Ellen, Debbie Reynolds, and Rita Hayworth.
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980
Was president of the jury at the ‘Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin’ in 1989.
For Peter Hall’s 30th birthday her present was – simply – a Rolls Royce.
Returned to work 3 months after giving birth to her son Christopher Hall to begin filming Gigi (1958).
Received the 2,394th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [December 2009].
Once romantically linked (1995-1996) to handsome “Laredo” actor Robert Wolders who married older actress Merle Oberon and was the companion of older actress Audrey Hepburn until her death in 1993. Leslie is five years older than Wolders.
She and her daughter, Jennifer Caron Hall, co-starred on an episode of The Love Boat (1977), in the parts of mother and daughter, both con artists, engaged in fleecing millionaires.
I never wanted to be an actor and to this day I don’t. I can’t get a handle on it. An actor wants to become someone else. I am a song-and-dance man and I enjoy being myself, which is all I can do.
Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri, to Loren (nickname “Cookie”) and Hazel (née McCord) Van Dyke, but he grew up in Danville, Illinois. He is the older brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke, who is best known for a role on the TV series Coach. Dick’s grandson, Shane Van Dyke, is also an actor and directed Titanic II. Dick is of Dutch descent on his father’s side; his mother was a descendant of Mayflower passenger Peter Browne from England.
Among his high school classmates in Danville where Donald O’Connor and Bobby Short, who both would go on to successful careers as entertainers themselves. Van Dyke’s mother’s family was very religious, and for a brief period in his youth he considered a career in ministry, although a drama class in high school convinced him that his true calling was as a professional entertainer. In his autobiography he wrote, “I suppose that I never completely gave up my childhood idea of being a minister. Only the medium and the message changed. I have still endeavored to touch people’s souls, to raise their spirits and put smiles on their faces”. Even after the launch of his career as an entertainer, he taught Sunday school in the Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder, and he continued to read theologians such as Buber, Tillich, and Bonhoeffer, whom he has said helped explain in practical terms the relevance of religion in everyday life.
During World War II, Van Dyke enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps where he became a radio announcer, later transferring to the Special Services entertaining troops in the Continental United States.
During the late 1940s, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois. In 1947, Van Dyke was persuaded by Phil Erickson to form a comedy duo with him called “Eric and Van—the Merry Mutes.” The team toured the West Coast nightclub circuit, performing a mime act and lip synching to old 78 records. They brought their act to Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1950s and performed a local television show featuring original skits and music called “The Merry Mutes”.
In November 1959, Van Dyke made his Broadway debut in The Girls Against the Boys. He then played the lead role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, which ran from April 14, 1960 to Oct 7, 1961. In a May 2011 interview with Rachael Ray, Van Dyke noted that when he auditioned for a smaller part in the show he had no dance experience, and that after he sang his audition song he did an impromptu soft-shoe out of sheer nervousness. Gower Champion, the show’s director and choreographer, was watching, and promptly went up on stage to inform Van Dyke he had the lead. An astonished Van Dyke protested that he could not dance, to which Champion replied “We’ll teach you”. That musical won four Tony awards including Van Dyke’s Best Featured Actor Tony, in 1961. In 1980, Van Dyke appeared as the title role in The Music Man on Broadway.
Dick Van Dyke’s start in television was with WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6 (NBC), first as a single comedian and later as emcee of a comedy program. Van Dyke’s first network TV appearance was with Dennis James on James’ Chance of a Lifetime in 1954. He later appeared in two episodes of The Phil Silvers Show during its 1957–1958 season. He also appeared early in his career on ABC’s The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom and NBC’s The Polly Bergen Show. During this time a friend from the Army was working as an executive for CBS television and recommended Van Dyke to that network. Out of this came a seven-year contract with the network. During an interview on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! program, Van Dyke said he was the anchorman for the CBS morning show during this period with Walter Cronkite as his newsman.
From 1961 to 1966, Van Dyke starred in the CBS sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which he portrayed a comedy writer named Rob Petrie. Originally the show was supposed to have Carl Reiner as the lead but CBS insisted on recasting and Reiner chose Van Dyke to replace him in the role. Van Dyke won three Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and the series received four Emmy Awards as Outstanding Comedy Series.
From 1971 to 1974, Van Dyke starred in an unrelated sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which he starred as a local television talk show host. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance but the show was less successful than its predecessor, and Van Dyke pulled the plug on the show after just three seasons.
In 1973, Van Dyke voiced his animated likeness for the October 27, 1973 installment of Hanna-Barbera’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, “Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke,” the series’ final first-run episode. The following year, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his role as an alcoholic businessman in the television movie The Morning After (1974). Van Dyke revealed after its release that he had recently overcome a real-life drinking problem. He admits he was an alcoholic for 25 years. After a few guest appearances on the long-running comedy-variety series The Carol Burnett Show, Van Dyke became a regular on the show, in the fall of 1977. However, he only appeared in half of the episodes of the final season. For the next decade he appeared mostly in TV movies. One atypical role was as a murdering judge on the second episode of the TV series Matlock in 1986 starring Andy Griffith. In 1989, he guest-starred on the NBC comedy series The Golden Girls portraying a lover of Beatrice Arthur’s character. This role earned him his first Emmy Award nomination since 1977.
His film work affected his TV career: the reviews he received for his role as D.A. Fletcher in Dick Tracy led him to star first as the character Dr. Mark Sloan in an episode of Jake and the Fatman, then in a series of TV movies on CBS that became the foundation for his popular television drama Diagnosis: Murder. Van Dyke continued to find television work after the show ended, including a dramatically and critically successful performance of The Gin Game, produced for television in 2003 that reunited him with Mary Tyler Moore. In 2003, he portrayed a doctor on Scrubs. A 2004 special of The Dick Van Dyke Show titled The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited was heavily promoted as the first new episode of the classic series to be shown in 38 years. Van Dyke and his surviving cast members recreated their roles; the program was roundly panned by critics. In 2006 he guest-starred as college professor Dr. Jonathan Maxwell for a series of Murder 101 mystery films on the Hallmark Channel.
Van Dyke began his film career by playing the role of Albert J. Peterson in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Despite his unhappiness with the adaptation—its focus differed from the stage version in that the story now centered on a previously supporting character—the film was a success. That same year, Van Dyke was cast in two roles: as the chimney sweep Bert, and as bank chairman Mr. Dawes Senior, in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964). For his scenes as the chairman, he was heavily costumed to look much older, and was credited in that role as “Nackvid Keyd” (at the end of the credits, the letters unscramble into “Dick Van Dyke”). Van Dyke’s attempt at a cockney accent has been decried as one of the worst accents in film history, cited by actors since as an example of how not to sound.
In a 2003 poll by Empire magazine of the worst-ever accents in film, he came in second. According to Van Dyke, his accent coach was Irish, who “didn’t do an accent any better than I did.” Still, Mary Poppins was successful upon release and its enduring appeal has made it one of the most famous films of all time. “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, one of the songs that Van Dyke performed in Mary Poppins, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the Sherman Brothers, the film’s songwriting duo.
Many of the comedy films Van Dyke starred in throughout the 1960s were relatively unsuccessful at the box office, including What a Way to Go!, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N., Fitzwilly, The Art of Love, Some Kind of a Nut, Never a Dull Moment, and Divorce American Style. But he also starred (with his native accent, despite the English setting) as Caractacus Pott in the successful musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), which co-starred Sally Ann Howes and featured the same songwriters (The Sherman Brothers) and choreographers (Marc Breaux and Dee Dee Wood) as Mary Poppins.
In 1969, Van Dyke appeared in the comedy-drama The Comic, written and directed by Carl Reiner. Van Dyke portrayed a self-destructive silent-film era comedian who struggles with alcoholism, depression, and his own rampant ego. Reiner wrote the film especially for Van Dyke, who often spoke of his admiration for silent-film era comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and his hero Stan Laurel. Twenty-one years later in 1990, Van Dyke, whose usual role had been the amiable hero, took a small but villainous turn as the crooked D.A. Fletcher in Warren Beatty’s film Dick Tracy. Van Dyke returned to motion pictures in 2006 with Curious George as Mr. Bloomsberry and as villain Cecil Fredericks in the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum. He reprised the role in a cameo for the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian but it was cut from the film. It can be found in the special features on the DVD release.
The Penguin Dance
Me ol’ Bamboo (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Step in Time
Often hosted game shows when he was a struggling actor. He hosted Mother’s Day (1958) and Laugh Line (1959) but turned down The Price Is Right (1956).
Older brother of entertainer Jerry Van Dyke.
According to his book “Those Funny Kids: A Treasury of Classroom Laughter”, by age 11 he had grown to 6′ 1″.
He enlisted to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, but initially did not make the cut because he did not meet the weight requirement, as he was underweight. He tried three times to enlist, before barely making the cut. He actually served as a radio announcer during the war, and he did not leave the United States.
Beat out Johnny Carson for the role of Rob Petrie on what later became The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) .
Won Broadway’s 1961 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for “Bye, Bye Birdie” and a Grammy Award for the Mary Poppins (1964) soundtrack.
His comic inspiration was Stan Laurel. He says he was able to find him by looking up his name in the phone book in Santa Monica, California, where Laurel lived. He called and Laurel invited him over. The two became good friends. When Laurel died, Van Dyke delivered his eulogy at the funeral.
Says that his most memorable role is that of Bert the chimney-sweep in Mary Poppins (1964).
Overcame alcoholism in the 1970s.
In Britain, his attempt at a Cockney accent in Mary Poppins (1964) is so notorious that a “Dick Van Dyke accent” is an accepted slang term for an American’s unsuccessful attempt at a British accent. Despite that, he is quite popular in Britain.
Rob Petrie, Van Dyke’s role on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), was ranked #22 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” [20 June 2004 issue].
In his 30s and 40s, he had a talent for playing crotchety, eccentric old men. He played this kind of role in Mary Poppins (1964) as Mr. Dawes Sr. and in a The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) episode where he played one of Rob Petrie’s elderly relatives.
Had played Lionel Jeffries’s son in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) even though Jeffries is actually six months his junior.
Was a heavy smoker for fifty years, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day for a time. He finally managed to quit using gum and patches.
Best known by the public for his starring roles as Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and as Dr. Mark Sloan on Diagnosis Murder (1993).
In 1968, he left Hollywood and bought a ranch in Arizona.
Did not appear in his first movie until he was 36.
Buster Keaton and Stan Laurel were two of his comedy idols. Both became fans of Dick’s classic TV series.
Received a lemon cake every Christmas from Charles Bronson, who lived nearby in Malibu, for 16 years.
Created most of his own comedy routines and physical schticks on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961).
Helped his ex-The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) co-star, Mary Tyler Moore get her own sitcom, in the 1970s.
Prior to being an actor, he was also a Sunday School teacher and an elder at a Presbyterian church, who ministered every Sunday.
Was longtime friends with Buddy Ebsen. Van Dyke hosted Ebsen’s memorial service on August 30, 2003.
Between Angela Lansbury, Norman Lloyd, Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Betty White and Larry Hagman, Van Dyke is one of the stars never to retire from acting.
Born in New York City to Maurice Hines Sr. and Alma Hines, Gregory Hines began tapping when he was two years old, and began dancing semi-professionally at the age of five. Since then, he and his older brother Maurice performed together, studying with choreographer Henry LeTang. Gregory and Maurice also learned from veteran tap dancers such as Howard Sims and The Nicholas Brothers whenever they performed in the same venues. The two brothers were known as “The Hines Kids”, making nightclub appearances, and later as “The Hines Brothers”. When their father joined the act as a drummer,the name changed again in 1963 to “Hines, Hines, and Dad”.
Hines performed as the lead singer and musician in a rock band called Severance in the year of 1975-1976 based in Venice, California. Severance was one of the house bands at an original music club called Honky Hoagies Handy Hangout, otherwise known as the 4H Club. In 1986, he sang a duet with Luther Vandross, entitled “There’s Nothing Better Than Love”, which reached the No. 1 position on the Billboard R&B charts.
Hines made his movie debut in Mel Brooks’s History of the World, Part 1. Critics took note of Hines’s comedic charm, and he later appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov, Running Scared, Tap and Waiting to Exhale. On television, he starred in his own series in 1997 called The Gregory Hines Show on CBS, as well as in the recurring role of Ben Doucette on Will & Grace. In 1999, Hines made his return to television with Nick Jr.’s Little Bill, as the voice of Big Bill in which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program.
Hines made his Broadway debut with his brother in The Girl in Pink Tights in 1954. He earned Tony Award nominations for Eubie! (1979), Comin’ Uptown (1980) and Sophisticated Ladies (1981), and won the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Jelly’s Last Jam (1992) and the Theatre World Award for Eubie!. In 1989, Gregory Hines created “Gregory Hines’ Tap Dance in America,” which he also hosted. The PBS special featured seasoned tap dancers such as Savion Glover and Bunny Briggs. He also co-hosted the Tony Awards ceremony in 1995 and 2002.
In 1990, Hines visited with his idol, Sammy Davis, Jr., as he was dying of throat cancer, unable to speak. After Davis died, an emotional Hines spoke at Davis’s funeral of how Sammy had made a gesture to him, “as if passing a basketball … and I caught it.” Hines spoke of the honor that Sammy thought that Hines could carry on from where he left off.
Hines was an avid improviser. He did a lot of improvisation of tap steps, tap sounds, and tap rhythms alike. His improvisation was like that of a drummer, doing a solo and coming up with all sorts of rhythms. He also improvised the phrasing of a number of tap steps that he would come up with, mainly based on sound produced. A laid back dancer, he usually wore nice pants and a loose-fitting shirt. Although he inherited the roots and tradition of the black rhythmic tap, he also influenced the new black rhythmic tap, as a proponent. “‘He purposely obliterated the tempos,’ wrote tap historian Sally Sommer, ‘throwing down a cascade of taps like pebbles tossed across the floor. In that moment, he aligned tap with the latest free-form experiments in jazz and new music and postmodern dance.'”
Throughout his career, Hines wanted to and continued to be an advocate for tap in America. In 1988, he successfully petitioned the creation of National Tap Dance Day, which is now celebrated in 40 cities in the United States. It is also celebrated in eight other nations. Gregory Hines was on the Board of Directors of Manhattan Tap, he was a member of the Jazz Tap Ensemble, and a member of the American Tap Foundation (formerly the American Tap Dance Orchestra). He was a good teacher, influencing tap dance artists Savion Glover, Dianne Walker, Ted Levy, and Jane Goldberg.
In an interview with The New York Times in 1988, Hines said that everything he did was influenced by his dancing–“my singing, my acting, my lovemaking, my being a parent.
Hines died of liver cancer at 57, on August 9, 2003, en route to hospital from his home in Los Angeles. He had been diagnosed with the disease more than a year earlier but had informed only his closest friends. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Negrita Jayde. Hines is interred at Saint Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the country in which he met Negrita. Negrita, who died in 2009, is buried next to him.
Gregory Hines Solo Tap Scene White Nights
Fit As A Fiddle: Steve Martin & Gregory Hines
Gregory and Maurice Hines in the Cotton Club
He and Maurice Hines were cast as brothers in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984), set in the Harlem club where their grandmother had been one of the elite black entertainers performing for a whites-only audience in the twenties and thirties. Coppola encouraged the brothers to improvise so they based one scene on their real-life reunion in “Eubie!” and admitted the tears were real.
In the late ’60s he decided to try his hand at performing rock ‘n’ roll music, and writing his own songs.
Was aged six when he and brother Maurice Hines performed, as the Hines Kids, at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
Had his professional debut when only 5 years old.
When he was in his twenties he worked on a farm.
Was considered for the part of “Winston Zeddemore” in Ghostbusters (1984).
Hines made his feature film debut in Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I (1981). He was a last minute replacement for Richard Pryor, who had to cancel his appearance in the movie due to his freebasing accident.
Won Broadway’s 1992 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for “Jelly’s Last Jam,” for which he also shared a Best Choreographer nomination with Hope Clarke and Ted L. Levy. He was also nominated for Tonys three other times: as Best Actor (Featured Role – Musical) in 1979 for “Eubie!”, which he recreated in the television version with the same title, Eubie! (1981); ; and as Best Actor (Musical), in 1980 for “Comin’ Uptown” and in 1981 for “Sophisticated Ladies.”
In 1954 he and brother Maurice Hines they were cast in the Broadway musical “The Girl in the Pink Tights”.
He had a reunion with brother Maurice Hines when they were both hired for the Broadway musical, “Eubie!” in 1978. It earned him a Tony nomination, as did his role in another musical, “Sophisticated Ladies”.
His own stage show took him from New York’s Bottom Line to spots as far-flung as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Japan and Monte Carlo.
Inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2004.