Actor, producer and tap dancer extraordinaire, Gregory Hines, 57, succumbed to cancer Aug. 9, 2003 in Los Angeles, according to his publicist Allen Eichhorn.
Internationally known as the greatest tap dancer of his generation, Hines had won a 1992 Tony Award for his flawless performance in the musical "Jelly's Last Jam."
Inspired by dance legends Sammy Davis, the Nicholas Brothers and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Hines proved his star power in a string of films including "The Cotton Club" and "White Nights" with Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Hines also appeared in the buddy cop comedy "Running Scared" with Billy Crystal, and with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in the celebrated drama "Waiting to Exhale." Hines was also the first choice to play fast-talking con Reggie Hammond in "48 Hours," a role that later went to then up and coming comedian, Eddie Murphy.
But it was Hines smooth tap style that highlighted the musical revue "Eubie!" and "Sophisticated Ladies" for which he will be most remembered. He was said to be an "amazing and creative dancer, and immaculate performer the last of his kind."
Encouraged by his mother to help the family out of poverty, Hines and his brother Maurice began dancing at an early age. One of their first gigs was a two week stint at Harlems famous Apollo Theater. A year later the pair were hoofing it in the Broadway musical "The Girl in Pink Tights." As teenagers, the Hines brothers performed with their father, Maurice Sr., as the trio Hines, Hines and Dad.
Recently Hines had appeared the television shows "Will and Grace" and "Lost at Home," and in 1997 starred in the short-lived "Gregory Hines Show." His last project was the not yet released movie "The Root."
Hines is survived by his Father, brother and three children.