Gregory Oliver Hines (February 14, 1946 – August 9, 2003) was an American dancer, actor, singer, and choreographer.
Hines in 1993
Gregory Oliver Hines
February 14, 1946
New York City, U.S.
|Died||August 9, 2003 (aged 57)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Saint Volodymyr's Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, Canada|
|Occupation||Dancer, actor, singer, choreographer|
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Panella (m. 1968; div. 19??)|
(m. 1981; div. 2000)
|Partner(s)||Negrita Jayde (2000–2003 (his death; engaged))|
Hines was born in New York City on February 14, 1946, the son of Alma Iola (Lawless) and Maurice Robert Hines, a dancer, musician, and actor. Hines began tapping when he was two years old, and began dancing semi professionally at the age of five.
After that, 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, between the years of 1975 to 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. Severance released their debut album on Largo Records (a subsidiary of GNP Crescendo) in 1976. 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 I. Critics took note of Hines's comedic charm, and he later appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights, Running Scared alongside Billy Crystal, 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, he would return to voice Big Bill, in Nick Jr.'s television show Little Bill. In 2000, he starred in The Tic Code.
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 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 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' marriages to Patricia Panella and Pamela Koslow ended in divorce. He had two children — a son, Zach, and a daughter, Daria, as well as a stepdaughter, Jessica Koslow, and a grandson.
Hines died of liver cancer on August 9, 2003, en route to the 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, production of the television show Little Bill was ending, and he was engaged to Negrita Jayde.
Hines is interred at Saint Volodymyr's Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario. Jayde died from cancer on August 28, 2009, at the age of 51, weeks after holding the sixth annual memorial/celebration to Hines.
On January 28, 2019, the US Postal Service honored Hines with a postage stamp, issued with a ceremony at The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in Buffalo, New York. The stamp is part of its Black Heritage series.
The 49th Annual Tony Awards was held at the Minskoff Theatre on June 4, 1995, and broadcast by CBS. Hosts were Glenn Close, Gregory Hines, and Nathan Lane.56th Tony Awards
The 56th Annual Tony Awards ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall on June 2, 2002 and broadcast by CBS. "The First Ten" awards ceremony was telecast on PBS television. The event was co-hosted by Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines.Bojangles (film)
Bojangles is a 2001 American made-for-television biographical drama film that chronicles the life of entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (1878–1949). This film boasts tap dance routines and a complicated, if not unique, interpretation of the main character by Gregory Hines, who also served as an executive producer.Deal of the Century
Deal of the Century is a 1983 American comedy film directed by William Friedkin and starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines, and Sigourney Weaver.
The film follows the adventures of several arms dealers that compete to sell weapons to a South American dictator.Eve of Destruction (film)
Eve of Destruction is a 1991 American science fiction/action film. The film is about a nuclear armed prototype Android_(robot) named EVE gone amok while being field tested by the military in a big city. The film stars Gregory Hines as Col. Jim McQuade and Dutch actress Renée Soutendijk (in her first U.S. film) with the dual roles as the robot's creator Dr. Eve Simmons, and the robot Eve herself.Give Me the Reason (Luther Vandross album)
Give Me the Reason is the fifth studio album by American R&B singer and songwriter Luther Vandross, released on September 19, 1986. The album earned Vandross an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and a nomination for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album" in 1988, while the title track "Give Me the Reason" was nominated for "Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male" and "Best R&B Song" at the 29th Grammy Awards in 1987. The album also includes Vandross' first top-20 pop hit, "Stop to Love." It also marked a svelte, thinner Vandross due to a weight loss earlier in the year. The album went on to sell over 2 million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In addition to the title track and "Stop to Love," the album features three other hit singles: "There's Nothing Better than Love" (a duet with actor/dancer/singer Gregory Hines), "I Really Didn't Mean It," and "So Amazing."Jelly's Last Jam
Jelly's Last Jam is a musical with a book by George C. Wolfe, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and music by Jelly Roll Morton and Luther Henderson. Based on the life and career of Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, known as Jelly Roll Morton and generally regarded as one of the primary driving forces behind the introduction of jazz to the American public in the early 20th century, it also serves as a social commentary on the African-American experience during the era. LaMothe was born into a Louisiana Creole family that was established and free before the Civil War.Lost at Home
Lost at Home is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from April 1 to April 22, 2003. The show starred Mitch Rouse, Connie Britton, Gregory Hines (in his final television role), Stark Sands, Leah Pipes, Gavin Fink and Aaron Hill. The show was cancelled after only four episodes.Off Limits (1988 film)
Off Limits is a 1988 action-thriller film set during the Vietnam War starring Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines and directed by Christopher Crowe. The term "off limits" referred to the area where the original crime took place, an area of Saigon off limits to military personnel. The name of the film was changed to Saigon or Saigon: Off Limits when it was released throughout the rest of the world.
The film marks Willem Dafoe's second Vietnam War film. He was assisted in preparing for this role by Vietnam Veteran and former Counterintelligence Special Agent Ed Murphy. Dafoe had previously starred in Platoon and would go on to play roles in Born on the Fourth of July and Flight of the Intruder. Although set during the war, the tale is more of a mystery than a story about the war.Pas de deux
In ballet, a pas de deux [pɑ d(ə) dø] (French, literally "step of two") is a dance duet in which two dancers, typically a male and a female, perform ballet steps together. The pas de deux is characteristic of classical ballet and can be found in many well-known ballets, including Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Giselle. It is most often performed by a male and a female (a danseur and a ballerina) though there are exceptions, such as in the film White Nights, in which a pas de deux is performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines.Renaissance Man (film)
Renaissance Man is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar and Cliff Robertson. In Australia, the film is known under the title of Army Intelligence.Running Scared (1986 film)
Running Scared is a 1986 action-comedy film directed by Peter Hyams, written by Gary Devore and Jimmy Huston, and starring Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal, with Steven Bauer, Jimmy Smits and Dan Hedaya in supporting roles. Hines and Crystal play Chicago police officers who, after nearly being killed on the job, decide to retire and open a bar in Key West, Florida, only to get caught up in making one last arrest before they go.
The film was produced and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.Silver 'n Strings Play the Music of the Spheres
Silver 'n Strings Play the Music of the Spheres is an album by jazz pianist Horace Silver, his final released on the Blue Note label, featuring performances by Silver with Tom Harrell, Larry Schneider, Ron Carter, and Al Foster, with vocals by Gregory Hines, Brenda Alford, Carol Lynn Maillard, and Chapman Roberts, and an overdubbed string section conducted by Wade Marcus.Tap (film)
Tap is a 1989 dance drama film written and directed by Nick Castle and starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr.The Cotton Club (film)
The Cotton Club is a 1984 American crime-drama film centered on a Harlem jazz club of the 1930s, the Cotton Club. The film was co-written (with William Kennedy) and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, choreographed by Henry LeTang, and starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee. The supporting cast included Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Allen Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.
The film was noted for its over-budget production costs, and took a total of five years to make. Critical reception was mostly positive and The Cotton Club was nominated for several awards, including Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Picture (Drama) and Oscars for Best Art Direction (Richard Sylbert, George Gaines) and Best Film Editing. The film, however, also earned a Razzie Award nomination for Diane Lane as Worst Supporting Actress.The Gregory Hines Show
The Gregory Hines Show is an American television sitcom that aired on CBS. The series premiered on Monday, September 15, 1997 before airing on September 19, 1997 as a part of the network's Block Party Friday night lineup. It ended its run on February 27, 1998 with 15 episodes aired, out of the 22 that were produced.The Tic Code
The Tic Code (also known as Lessons in the Tic Code) is a drama film directed by Gary Winick and written by Polly Draper. It tells of a single mother, the relationship she forms with a jazz musician who has Tourette syndrome, and her young son—a jazz piano prodigy—also with the disorder. The musician and the boy form a friendship, and the film is loosely based upon the experiences of Draper's jazz musician husband Michael Wolff, who provided the film's score. Draper, known for her role in Thirtysomething, portrays the mother; Gregory Hines plays the musician; and Christopher George Marquette stars as the young boy.
Principal photography took place in 1997 in New York City. The Tic Code appeared at several film festivals in 1998 and 1999, where it won a number of awards. It received a limited theatrical release in the United States on August 4, 2000, and a DVD release in February 2001. Critical response to the film was generally favorable.There's Nothing Better Than Love
"There's Nothing Better Than Love" is a 1986 song by American recording artist Luther Vandross and actor/dancer/singer Gregory Hines. The single peaked to number one on the U.S. Hot Black Singles chart, for one week, and peaked at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "There's Nothing Better Than Love" was Luther Vandross' follow up to his previous number one R&B hit, "Stop To Love".Waiting to Exhale
Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 American romance film directed by Forest Whitaker (in his feature film directorial debut) and starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. The film was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Beach, Gregory Hines, Donald Faison, and Mykelti Williamson rounded out the rest of the cast. The original music score was composed by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The story centers on four women living in the Phoenix, Arizona area and their relationships with men and one another. All of them are "holding their breath" until the day they can feel comfortable in a committed relationship with a man.
Awards for Gregory Hines