Gregory Hines Dies of Cancer at 57
By TIM MOLLOY, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - Tony Award winner Gregory Hines, the tap-dancing actor who started on Broadway and in movies including "White Nights" and "Running Scared," has died, his publicist says. He was 57.
Hines died Saturday in Los Angeles of cancer, publicist Allen Eichorn said.
The dancer, among the best in his generation, won a 1993 Tony for the musical "Jelly's Last Jam."
Hines became internationally known as part of a jazz tap due with his brother, Maurice, and 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." This past 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 1974 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."