Fayard Nicholas

Fayard Antonio Nicholas (October 20, 1914 – January 24, 2006) was an American choreographer, dancer and actor. He and his younger brother Harold Nicholas made up the Nicholas Brothers tap-dance duo, who starred in the MGM musicals An All-Colored Vaudeville Show (1935), Stormy Weather (1943), The Pirate (1948), and Hard Four (2007). The Nicholas brothers also starred in the 20th Century-Fox musicals Down Argentine Way (1940), Sun Valley Serenade (1941), and Orchestra Wives (1942).[1]

Fayard Nicholas
Fayard Nicholas.jpeg
Nicholas in 2000
Fayard Antonio Nicholas

October 20, 1914
DiedJanuary 24, 2006 (aged 91)
OccupationChoreographer, dancer, actor, singer
Years active1935–1991
Spouse(s)Katherine Hopkins (2000–2006; his death)
Barbara January (1967–1998)
Geraldine Pate (1942-1955; divorced)
AwardsHollywood Walk of Fame

Early life

Nicholas was born in Alabama, but grew up primarily in Philadelphia. He learned to dance while watching vaudeville shows with his brother while their musician parents played in the orchestra.[2] His father, Ulysses D. Nicholas, was a drummer and his mother, Viola Harden Nicholas, was a pianist.[3]


Hollywood comedian Bob Hope joins dancers Harold and Fayard Nicholas in a dance step aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Ti - NARA - 541852
Fayard Nicholas dances with Harold Nicholas and Bob Hope, 1965

In 1932, when he was 18 and his brother was only 11, they became the featured act at Cotton Club in New York City. The brothers earned fame with a unique style of rhythm tap that blended "masterful jazz steps with daredevil athletic moves and an elegance of motion worthy of ballet". They appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway and in London they worked with jazz choreographer Buddy Bradley. The performances led them to a career in film. Nicholas appeared in over 60 films, including the 1943 musical Stormy Weather with their signature staircase dance.[4]

His career was interrupted from 1943 to 1944 when he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.[5] Nicholas achieved the rank of Technician fifth grade while in WWII.[6]

After his dance career ended, Nicholas and his wife, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas, embarked on a lecture tour discussing dance. In 2003, Nicholas served as "Festival Legend" at the third "Soul to Sole Tap Festival" in Austin, Texas.[7]

Fayard Nicholas was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 2001.


Nicholas was married three times. He remained friends with his first wife, Geraldine Pate, after their divorce. His second wife was Barbara January. He married dancer Katherine Hopkins in 2000. He was a member of the Bahá'í Faith. Nicholas died of pneumonia at age 91.[8]


  1. ^ "Selected profiles of African-American Bahá'ís". National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. 2007. Archived from the original on Oct 9, 2007. Retrieved Feb 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Dancer Fayard Nicholas dies at 91 People Magazine, January 25, 2006
  3. ^ FAYARD NICHOLAS The History Makers, May 14, 2004
  4. ^ Minister of Grace Dance Legend Fayard Nicholas Joins the Soul to Sole Tap Festival The Austin Chronicle, June 6, 2003
  5. ^ FAYARD NICHOLAS The History Makers, May 14, 2004
  6. ^ [1] The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center Feb, 2 2016
  7. ^ Minister of Grace Dance Legend Fayard Nicholas Joins the Soul to Sole Tap Festival The Austin Chronicle, June 6, 2003
  8. ^ "Selected profiles of African-American Bahá'ís". National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States. 2007. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved February 8, 2016.

External links

43rd Tony Awards

The 43rd Annual Tony Awards, which honor achievement in the Broadway theatre was held on June 4, 1989, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and broadcast by CBS television. The hostess was Angela Lansbury. Lansbury has hosted or co-hosted more Tony telecasts than any other individual, with five telecasts: 1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, and 1989.

There were no nominations for Best Book of a Musical as well as Best Score of a Musical.

Black and Blue (musical)

Black and Blue is a musical revue celebrating the black culture of dance and music in Paris between World War I and World War II.

Based on an idea by Mel Howard and conceived by Hector Orezzoli and Claudio Segovia, it consists of songs by artists such as W. C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, and Big Maybelle and skits peppered with bits of bawdy humor.

Deaths in January 2006

The following is a list of notable deaths in January 2006.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Down Argentine Way

Down Argentine Way is a 1940 American musical film made in Technicolor by Twentieth Century Fox. It made a star of Betty Grable in her first leading role for the studio, and introduced American audiences to Carmen Miranda. The film also starred Don Ameche, The Nicholas Brothers, Charlotte Greenwood, and J. Carrol Naish.

The film was directed by Irving Cummings and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck from a screenplay by Karl Tunberg and Darrell Ware, based on a story by Rian James and Ralph Spence. The cinematography was by Leon Shamroy and Ray Rennahan and the costume design by Travis Banton. The American-composed music was by Harry Warren and Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Mack Gordon and Al Dubin.

In a shooting period which lasted for 10 months, members of the film's crew traveled about 35,000 miles. A second unit was sent to Buenos Aires for location establishing shots, returning with about 20,000 feet of film, while another group flew to New York City filming Carmen Miranda for over a month. Miranda was performing South American songs in the Broadway production The Streets of Paris, and thus was a prominent participant in this film without spending any time in Hollywood.In 2014, Down Argentine Way was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Drew Casper

Joseph Andrew "Drew" Casper is a Professor of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and considered an authority on American film from World War II to the present. While a Ph.D. student at USC, Dr. Casper's mentor, Irwin Blacker, died suddenly and the Cinema department offered Dr. Casper a position. Casper has risen to become the third-highest-paid person at USC. In the fall of 1997, the estate of Alfred Hitchcock and USC made Dr. Casper the first Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Professor for the Study of American Film. Casper provides a steady stream of DVD commentaries and expertise on films. He is the author of books about Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, a book on Postwar Hollywood 1946–1962., and a volume called Hollywood Film, 1963-1976: Years of Revolution and Reaction.

Harold Nicholas

Harold Lloyd Nicholas (March 27, 1921 – July 3, 2000) was an American dancer specializing in tap. He was the younger half of the tap-dancing pair the Nicholas Brothers, known as two of the world's greatest dancers. His older brother was Fayard Nicholas. He starred in the MGM musicals An All-Colored Vaudeville Show (1935), Stormy Weather (1943), The Pirate (1948). and The Five Heartbeats (1991). Harold was married to actress Dorothy Dandridge from 1942 to 1951.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge is a television film directed by Martha Coolidge. Filmed over a span of a few weeks in early 1998, the film was aired in the United States on August 21, 1999. The teleplay is drawn exclusively from the biography of Dorothy Dandridge by Earl Mills. The original music score was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who had known Dandridge and Otto Preminger. The film is marketed with the tagline: "Right woman. Right place. Wrong time."

Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The honors have been presented annually since 1978, culminating each December in a star-studded gala celebrating the honorees in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

List of National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame inductees

Below is the list of the inductees into the Hall of Fame of the National Museum of Dance (United States).

Low five

Low five is a hand gesture when two people slap palms together. One party extends an open palm, face upward at about waist level, the other party strikes the palm in a downward swing with their open palm. It's sometimes known as "slapping five", "give me five", or "giving skin".

The gesture is an antecedent of the high five which appeared in the 1970s.

My Feet Keep Dancing

"My Feet Keep Dancing" is the third single from Chic's third studio album Risqué. It features a co-lead vocal by Luci Martin and Bernard Edwards and a tap dance solo by Fayard Nicholas (of the Nicholas Brothers), Eugene Jackson (of Our Gang), and Sammy Warren.

Nicholas Brothers

The Nicholas Brothers were a team of dancing brothers, Fayard (1914–2006) and Harold (1921–2000), who performed a highly acrobatic technique known as "flash dancing". With a high level of artistry and daring innovations, they were considered by many to be the greatest tap dancers of their day. Their performance in the musical number "Jumpin' Jive" (with Cab Calloway and his orchestra) featured in the movie Stormy Weather is considered by many to be the most virtuosic dance display of all time.

Growing up surrounded by vaudeville acts as children, they became stars of the jazz circuit during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance and went on to have successful careers performing on stage, film, and television well into the 1990s.

Night at the Golden Eagle

Night at the Golden Eagle is a 2001 American crime drama film written and directed by Adam Rifkin.

October 20

October 20 is the 293rd day of the year (294th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 72 days remain until the end of the year.

St. Louis Woman

St. Louis Woman is a musical by Harold Arlen (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics). The musical opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York on March 30, 1946, and ran for 113 performances. The original cast included Robert Pope (Badfoot), Harold Nicholas (Little Augie), Fayard Nicholas (Barney), June Hawkins (Lilli), Pearl Bailey (Butterfly), Ruby Hill (Della Green), Rex Ingram (Biglow Brown), and Milton J. Williams (Mississippi).It is based upon the novel God Sends Sunday by African-American writer Arna Bontemps.

Stormy Weather (1943 film)

Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The film is considered one of the best Hollywood musicals with an African-American cast, the other being MGM's Cabin in the Sky (1943). The film is considered a primary showcase of some of the top African-American performers of the time, during an era when African-American actors and singers rarely appeared in lead roles in mainstream Hollywood productions, especially those of the musical genre.

Stormy Weather takes its title from the 1933 song of the same title, which is performed near the end of the film. It is based upon the life and times of its star, dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Robinson plays "Bill Williamson", a talented born dancer who returns home in 1918 after serving in World War I and tries to pursue a career as a performer. Along the way, he approaches a beautiful singer named Selina Rogers, played by Lena Horne in one of her few non-MGM film appearances (and one of only two films from the 1930s-1940s in which Horne played a substantial role). The character of Selina was invented for the film; Robinson did not have such a romance in real life. Dooley Wilson co-stars as Bill's perpetually-broke friend and Emmett ‘Babe’ Wallace co-stars as the antagonist vying for Lena’s hand.

Other performers in the movie were Cab Calloway and Fats Waller (both appearing as themselves), the Nicholas Brothers dancing duo, comedian F. E. Miller, singer Ada Brown, and Katherine Dunham with her dance troupe. Despite a running time of only 77 minutes, the film features some 20 musical numbers. This was Robinson's final film (he died in 1949); Waller died only a few months after its release.

The film's musical highlights include Waller performing his composition "Ain't Misbehavin'", Cab Calloway leading his band in his composition "Jumpin' Jive", and a lengthy sequence built around the title song, featuring the vocals of Lena Horne and the dancing of Katherine Dunham. Horne also performs in several dance numbers with Robinson.

The movie was adapted by Frederick J. Jackson, Ted Koehler and H.S. Kraft from the story by Jerry Horwin and Seymour B. Robinson. It was directed by Andrew L. Stone.

In 2001, Stormy Weather was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It was released on DVD in North America in 2005.

Tin Pan Alley (film)

Tin Pan Alley is a 1940 musical film directed by Walter Lang and starring Alice Faye and Betty Grable as vaudeville singers/sisters and John Payne and Jack Oakie as songwriters in the years before World War I.

Alfred Newman received the 1940 Academy Award for Best Musical Score for his work on the film, the first of his nine Oscars. The film was also nominated for American Film Institute's 2006 list of the AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals.

Tony Award for Best Choreography

The Tony Award for Best Choreography is awarded to acknowledge the contributions of choreographers in both musicals and plays. The award has been given since 1947, but nominees were not announced until 1956.

Awards for Fayard Nicholas

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