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lizchris
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:37 PM
Gregory Hines Dies of Cancer at 57

By TIM MOLLOY
.c The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gregory Hines, the greatest tap dancer of his generation who also transcended the stag e with successful film and television roles, has died at 57.

Hines died Saturday in Los Angeles of cancer, publicist Allen Eichorn said Sunday.

Hines won a 1992 Tony for the musical ``Jelly's Last Jam.'' He first became internationally known as part of a jazz tap duo with his brother, Maurice. The two danced together in the musical revue ``Eubie!'' in 1978.

The brothers later performed together in Broadway's ``Sophisticated Ladies'' and on film in 1984's ``The Cotton Club.''

In ``The Cotton Club,'' Hines also had a lead acting role, which led to more work in film. He starred with Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1985's ``White Nights'' and with Billy Crystal in 1986's ``Running Scared,'' and he appeared with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995's ``Waiting to Exhale,'' among other movies.

On television, he had his own sitcom in 1997 called ``The Gregory Hines Show,'' as well as a recurring role on ``Will and Grace.'' Last March, he appeared in the spring television series ``Lost at Home.''

Gregory Oliver Hines was born on February 14, 1946, in New York City. He has said his mother urged him and his older brother toward tap dancing because she wanted them to have a way out of the ghetto.

When he was a toddler, he said, his brother was already taking tap lessons and would come home and teach him steps. They began performing together when Gregory Hines was five, and they performed at the Apollo for two weeks when he was six. In 1954 they were cast in the Broadway musical ``The Girl in Pink Tights,'' starring French ballerina Jeanmaire.

``I don't remember not dancing,'' Hines said in a 2001 interview with The Associated Press. ``When I realized I was alive and these were my parents, and I could walk and talk, I could dance.''

Paired with his brother Maurice, he was a professional child star. In his teens, joined by their father, Maurice Sr., on drums, they were known as Hines, Hines and Dad. Later he earned Tony nominations on Broadway in ``Eubie,'' ``Comin' Uptown'' and ``Sophisticated Ladies.'' He won a Tony for best actor in a musical playing jazz legend ``Jelly Roll'' Morton in ``Jelly's Last Jam.''

There was a time, he said, when he didn't want to dance. He was in his mid-20s, ``a hippie'' in a brief moment of rebellion, he said in 2001.

``I felt that I didn't want to be in show business anymore. I felt that I wanted to be a farmer,'' he said with a laugh. Invited to work on a farm in upstate New York, he quickly learned a lesson. Beginning before dawn, ``I was milking cows and shoveling terrible stuff and working all day. By the end of the day all I wanted was my tap shoes - I thought, `What am I doing? I better get back where I belong on the stage where we work at night and can sleep late!'''

Hines had a falling out with his older brother in the late 1960s because the younger was becoming influenced by counter-culture and wanted to perform to rock music and write his songs. In 1973, the family act disbanded and Hines moved to Venice Beach.

``I was going through a lot of changes,'' Hines told the Washington Post in 1981. ``Marriage. We'd just had a child. Divorce. I was finding myself.''

He returned to New York in 1978, partly to be near his daughter, Daria, who was living with Hines' first wife, dance therapist Patricia Panella. His brother, with whom he had reconciled, told him about an audition for the Broadway-bound ``The Last Minstrel Show.'' He got the part, but the show opened and closed in Philadelphia.

Hines landed his first film role in the 1981 Mel Brooks comedy ``History of the World Part I,'' in which he played a Roman slave as a last-minute replacement for Richard Pryor.

Hines' has been nominated for a number of Emmy Awards, most recently in 2001 for his lead role in the mini-series ``Bojangles.'' His PBS special ``Gregory Hines: Tap Dance in America'' was nominated in 1989, and in 1982 he was nominated for his performance in ``I Love Liberty,'' a variety special saluting America.

He also won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1999 for his work as the voice of ``Big Bill'' in the Bill Cosby animated TV series ``Little Bill'' and NAACP Image Awards for ``Bojangles'' and ``Running Scared.''



08/10/03 12:32 EDT
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

Mase
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:39 PM
I just read that online, thats sad. He'll be missed.

spokenword73
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:39 PM
OMG!!! I can't believe it! He was one of my favorites!! I loved him in "Waiting to Exhale"!! May he rest in peace :sad:

YSL
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:50 PM
Rest in Peace Mr Hines, you will be missed :sad:

shap_half
Aug 10th, 2003, 06:27 PM
Wasn't he in Will and Grace, as well?!

*JR*
Aug 10th, 2003, 06:27 PM
This is so sad. :sad: He seemed the picture of health only a couple of years ago when quoted as saying how often he attended Bring in da Funk, Bring in da Noise hoping to "steal some moves". (Of course the great choreographer Alvin Ailey also died in his late 50's several years ago). Farewell, maestro! ;)

Rocketta
Aug 10th, 2003, 07:12 PM
:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

Noooooooooooo!!!

I can't believe it. He was sooo talented. This is truly sad. Cancer sux! :mad:

Dawn Marie
Aug 10th, 2003, 07:24 PM
DAMN IT! We lost another star. I didn't even know he had Cancer. I enjoyed watching his talent. I didn't know he played Little Bill's father on the cartoon. That is one of the best cartoons out there.

Well he is in a better place than pain on earth. You'll be missed!!

Mase
Aug 10th, 2003, 07:31 PM
Wasn't he in Will and Grace, as well?!

Yes.....

King Satan
Aug 10th, 2003, 07:52 PM
:sad:

lizchris
Aug 10th, 2003, 08:39 PM
Dancer-Actor Gregory Hines Dies at 57


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gregory Hines, the Tony Award-winning tap-dancing actor who starred on Broadway as well as in many films, including "The Cotton Club," has died at the age of 57, his publicist said on Sunday.

Hines, considered one of the top dancers of his generation, died Saturday night in Los Angeles of cancer, said Allen Eichhorn, a spokesman for Hines.

The native New Yorker, who won a 1992 Tony for the musical "Jelly's Last Jam," first found fame performing jazz tap with his brother Maurice, working together in the musical revue "Eubie!" in 1978 and in "Sophisticated Ladies."

Born on Feb. 14, 1946, in New York City, Hines had said his mother steered her sons toward tap dancing as a way to escape the ghetto.

By the time he was five, Hine was already performing, and the two brothers danced at the famed Apollo theater for two weeks when he was just six. In his teens, the brothers also performed with their father, Maurice Sr., who played drums.

Later he earned Tony nominations on Broadway in "Eubie!," "Comin' Uptown" and "Sophisticated Ladies."

Hines had a falling out with his older brother in the late 1960s when he wanted to perform to rock music and write his own songs. In 1973, the family act disbanded and Hines moved to Venice Beach, California.

But they reconciled a few years later and began performing in various Broadway shows together.

Hines landed his first film role in the 1981 Mel Brooks comedy "History of the World Part I," in which he played a Roman slave as a last-minute replacement for Richard Pryor.

Landing a leading role in Francis Ford Coppola's hit "The Cotton Club" in the mid-1980s cleared the way for more film work, including "White Nights," in which he starred with Mikhail Baryshnikov and with Billy Crystal in 1986's "Running Scared."

Hines also appeared with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995's "Waiting to Exhale," among other movies.

Hines nabbed several Emmy Award nominations, most recently in 2001 for his lead role in the mini-series "Bojangles."

His PBS special "Gregory Hines: Tap Dance in America" was nominated in 1989.

On television, he had his own sitcom in 1997 called "The Gregory Hines Show," and a recurring role on "Will and Grace."

This spring, he appeared in the spring television series "Lost at Home."

Hines is survived by his fiance, Negrita Jayde, his daughter, Daria, his son, Zach, his stepdaughter, Jessica Koslow and his grandson, Lucian, Eichhorn said. Hines had been married twice. He is also survived by his older brother Maurice and father Maurice Sr., who he had performed with. A private funeral will be held in Los Angeles this week.



08/10/03 14:22 ET

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited.

lizchris
Aug 10th, 2003, 08:40 PM
This is so sad. :sad: He seemed the picture of health only a couple of years ago when quoted as saying how often he attended Bring in da Funk, Bring in da Noise hoping to "steal some moves". (Of course the great choreographer Alvin Ailey also died in his late 50's several years ago). Farewell, maestro! ;)

Alvin Ailey died of AIDS.

Pureracket
Aug 10th, 2003, 08:45 PM
I saw Hines around this time last year, and he seemed the picture of perfect health. Cancer can be very serious when it goes undetected.

*JR*
Aug 10th, 2003, 08:59 PM
Alvin Ailey died of AIDS.
I "vaguely remebered" something to that effect, but didn't say it till you now confirmed it. Another famous "dance personna" where I'm sure that's the case was Rudolf Nuryev (sp?). Ironically, Gregory co-directed a musical maybe 10 years ago with Sammy Davis, Jr. (who was already battling what indeed was terminal cancer).

Mrs. Peel
Aug 10th, 2003, 09:23 PM
So sad! :sad: He lives in my neighborhood and I would see him taking walks by my condo (we live on the beach). I had noticed he looked a little frail but I just thought it was age.

He will be missed!

raquel
Aug 10th, 2003, 09:39 PM
:sad: To be honest I only know him from Will and Grace but I enjoyed his character in it a lot. I was surprised to see he was 57, he looked younger on Will and Grace. I loved the episode where he and Jack tap danced :)

Rest In Peace

tia clara
Aug 10th, 2003, 10:00 PM
Well, now Gregory Hines is on a big stage with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, the three of them trying to outdance each other, while Bill "Bojangles" Robinson rests for a while as he watches them dance and then does his bit to outdance them all. Boy, are the angels in Heaven ever lucky to see this.

Richie77
Aug 11th, 2003, 02:22 AM
This is so sad :sad: He was one of my favorites.

lizchris
Aug 11th, 2003, 06:10 AM
I "vaguely remebered" something to that effect, but didn't say it till you now confirmed it. Another famous "dance personna" where I'm sure that's the case was Rudolf Nuryev (sp?). Ironically, Gregory co-directed a musical maybe 10 years ago with Sammy Davis, Jr. (who was already battling what indeed was terminal cancer).

Rudolf Nuryev did die of AIDS, as well as Jerome Bennett (who was a choreographer) and Michael Peters, who choreographed Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video (he died in the summer of 1994, but the OJ case was white hot and his death went unnoticed).

DunkMachine
Aug 11th, 2003, 07:55 AM
I just read the papers this morning and saw that actor/tapdancer Gregory Hines passed away. I first saw him dance "Tap" together with Sammy Davis Junior. His performances were masterfull and it allways made me want to learn how to tap.

I'll miss him

Jeff
Aug 11th, 2003, 09:19 AM
I didn't know Gregory Hines very well, but I do remember his appearance on Will and Grace a while back. Looked so healthy! :sad:

It's very sad when something like this happens so unexpectedly. But hopefully now he is resting in peace.

doloresc
Aug 11th, 2003, 01:19 PM
Well, now Gregory Hines is on a big stage with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, the three of them trying to outdance each other, while Bill "Bojangles" Robinson rests for a while as he watches them dance and then does his bit to outdance them all. Boy, are the angels in Heaven ever lucky to see this.

lovely tribute, tia clara. :) and joining them up there in a dance-off is harold nicholas of the nicholas brothers.

doloresc
Aug 13th, 2003, 01:16 PM
Gregory Hines 1946–2003
Tapping Into History
by Deborah Jowitt
August 13 - 19, 2003

When Gregory Hines died August 9 in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, the shock reverberated through a number of worlds. He had shone in so many ways: a stellar tap dancer, choreographer, actor, teacher, mentor, loved one. If you missed his appearances at tap festivals, you might have enjoyed his gritty portrayal of Jelly Roll Morton in Jelly's Last Jam on Broadway. Although you might never have seen him tap, you might have caught him in one of his appearances on Will & Grace.

His death caught most of us off guard; he let only those closest to him know that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer a little over a year ago. He didn't want to stop working, and he was going to get well. Tapper and tap historian Jane Goldberg saw his solo show in Morristown, New Jersey, in March and says he was in great form.

Hines grew up in tap at the tail end of the big-band era, along with his older brother, Maurice Jr. If you start tap classes at three, and flash onstage as half of an act called "The Hines Kids" that plays four shows a night at a club, you can easily burn out young. Hines kept at it through "The Hines Brothers" and, starting in 1963—when Maurice Hines Sr. joined the act—through "Hines, Hines and Dad." He must have been eight when he made his Broadway debut as a shoeshine boy in The Girl in Pink Tights (1954), choreographed by Agnes de Mille.

It's a pleasant irony that having taken one of the stereotypical roles then available to a black performer, he returned to Broadway in the '90s as a mature actor, playing Jelly Roll Morton—an artist who wished to be thought of as a serious composer, not just a piano man—in Jelly's Last Jam. The show veered away from the early musical comedies, with their images of happy black folks dancing their feet off as shoeshine boys, porters, and nimble hired help; Hines won a Tony in 1992 for his performance as the embittered Morton.

Hines did leave the family act, in 1973, to form a rock band, Severance. (As a baby boomer, he fell between two generations of tappers and may have felt the lack of a vibrant community of dancers his age, and of professional opportunities.) Playing drums vented his rhythmic expertise, but a bass-drum pedal couldn't satisfy those feet for long. In the 1985 movie White Nights, where he played a sour, sad-eyed expatriate Communist in Cold War Russia to Mikhail Baryshnikov's feisty kidnapped ballet star, he couldn't conceal the glee he got out of competing with, and sometimes besting, his co-star. Dancing literally brought his character to life, and the role suited one of his credos. In all his ventures, he aimed to make tap keep up with the times: no tux, no wooing the crowd. Jazz yes, big band yes, but why not funk too? Dapper wasn't a word you'd use to describe him. He hunkered down into his dancing, his manner easy, his rhythms clear as a bell. But rarely simple. He wanted audiences to think of tap as a complex art that involved both brains and daring, and he considered himself an athlete more than a showman. Learning from the old hoofers like Bunny Briggs, Buster Brown, Chuck Green, and Honi Coles, he pushed the art form and inspired a generation of young tap wizards, notably Savion Glover.

Because of his presence on the stage, in movies, and on television, he was better known to the general public than most tap dancers, and he used his fame to enhance the field. Hines was the driving force behind Nick Castle's 1989 movie Tap, which he co-choreographed with Henry LeTang. Jane Goldberg says that for a sequence in which he wanted the women to trade eights, she thought she'd improvise. Hines wasn't taking any chances; he choreographed her spontaneity. Tap jams were one thing; movies dogged you for life. As a board member and co-chairman of Tony Waag's New York City Tap Festival, he usually made a spectacular appearance; this July he wasn't there (although a fine piece of his choreography for three women was). Waag said work had gotten in the way of his showing up, mentioning an early Hollywood call. He was some kind of hero to his peers. Let the band play a slow march. Muffled taps, please. But keep his spirit alive and experimenting.

Rocketta
Aug 13th, 2003, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the article Dolores. Doesn't anyone else think it weird he died in an ambulance? I mean if he was that sick why was he at home or if he was at home on his death bed why was an ambulance called, ie why were they trying to revive him in the ambulance wouldn't they let him die at home peaceful? That just jumped out at me. I think a lot of men commit suicide when they are dying of cancer . (not saying Gregory did that its just a thought)

Cariaoke
Aug 13th, 2003, 02:31 PM
RIP... :sad:

spokenword73
Aug 13th, 2003, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the article Dolores. Doesn't anyone else think it weird he died in an ambulance? I mean if he was that sick why was he at home or if he was at home on his death bed why was an ambulance called, ie why were they trying to revive him in the ambulance wouldn't they let him die at home peaceful? That just jumped out at me. I think a lot of men commit suicide when they are dying of cancer . (not saying Gregory did that its just a thought)

yes, I was surprised at this too... maybe he had some sort of cardiac arrest, or brain anyerism (sp). At first I thought maybe he did die of AIDS, but on the Howard Stern show they said was prostrate cancer. I know it's a stereotype, but lots of men won't go to the doctor...until it's too late. It's all just so :sad:

Rocketta
Aug 13th, 2003, 03:41 PM
yes, I was surprised at this too... maybe he had some sort of cardiac arrest, or brain anyerism (sp). At first I thought maybe he did die of AIDS, but on the Howard Stern show they said was prostrate cancer. I know it's a stereotype, but lots of men won't go to the doctor...until it's too late. It's all just so :sad:


Yes, it was/is very very sad. :sad:

Amanda
Aug 13th, 2003, 06:47 PM
:sad:

nasty nick#2
Aug 13th, 2003, 07:23 PM
Very sad indeed, a talented actor that surely will be missed.

doloresc
Aug 14th, 2003, 12:20 PM
Gregory Hines, buff and buoyant, said: "I am a tap-dancer. That's how I express myself."

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/08/14/arts/14GREG.184.jpg

AN APPRECIATION
Gregory Hines: From Time Step to Timeless
By SALLY R. SOMMER

Gregory Hines was admired as a gracious and charming performer onstage, in film and in television. But he was also a dance revolutionary who took the upright tap tradition, bent it over and slammed it to the ground. Hines would have been the last to call himself radical. He simply said: "I am a tap-dancer. That's how I express myself." As a tap-dancer from the age of 2 he expressed the idiosyncrasies of his imagination most easily in his dancing.

In the 1980's Hines recast the image of the black male tap-dancer and roughed up the rhythms. He added new stylistic dimensions and volume to tap, and helped to shift perceptions of the tap-dancer from an entertainer to a serious dance artist. It was Hines who provided the building blocks of a new tap style, which, in the late 1990's, would be copied and expanded by his protégé Savion Glover into the next generation's styles. Positioned between the older tap masters he loved and the up-and-coming hard-core youngsters who loved him, Hines was the bridge, interpreting the past and pushing it toward the future.

The older tap masters Hines admired, like Honi Coles, Leon Collins, Eddie Brown, Chuck Green, Harold Nichols and Charles Cook, possessed old-school elegance and polished skills. They dressed sharply and danced in an easy, swinging upright style. No matter how funny — how "down" — they might get, they were always pre-1950's gentlemen. And they kept good time.

Then Hines broke the codes. By his national dance tour in 1986, he had perfected the new image. Suddenly the tapper was sexy, muscled, new-school and macho. Hines worked out at the gym so the T-shirt was tight, the body had substance, the line was strong. Hunkered over like a prizefighter, unsmiling, he cocked his head and stared at the floor as if looking for answers.

Hines danced hard and messy, sometimes slurring his sounds angrily. He threw in African dance moves that revealed deeper, older connections. He designed a miked portable stage to amplify the taps and put the tap-dancer on equal footing with the loud music. He played his floor like a drum, testing the surface until he found "the spot," sounding the wood for melodies, pitches and thunks.

Certainly he had a hip, cool presence. But with Hines the cool always slipped. If the T-shirt and slacks were reminiscent of Gene Kelly, it was blunted by bad tailoring. When Hines danced hard, a gap of skin always showed between the bottom of his pants and the top of his socks. His shoelaces seemed too long. Or in the middle of a phrase, he would suddenly stop, wipe his brow, take a swig from a water bottle and start chatting to the audience.

But the biggest break Hines made was in the rhythms. He shattered the neat foursquare tempos. In a 1986 interview he told me, "I just wanted to get out of that time box."

So he purposely obliterated the tempos, 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. Since rhythm is perceived only as a regular pulse, any rhythmic break knocks the breath out of the listener because it so unexpected — so visceral.

Hines's break with the sacred tap traditions was monumental. It jerked tap out of a pre-1950's aesthetic and pushed it into the 1990's and beyond. He renewed tap by roughing it up and giving it emotional weight.

Tap-dancers have always improvised. But Hines brought the audience in even closer, refining an insight by the legendary Bubbles, John Sublett: "Listen to my feet, and I will tell you the story of my life."