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Gregory Hines
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Gregory Oliver Hines (February 14, 1946 – August 9, 2003) was an American actor, singer, dancer and choreographer.

Early years

Born in New York City, Hines and his older brother Maurice started dancing at an early age, studying with choreographer Henry LeTang. Together with their father the three were known as "The Hines Kids" and later as "The Hines Brothers" only to have the name change again in 1963 to "Hines, Hines and Dad".

Career

Hines performed as the lead singer and musician in a rock band called Severance in 1975/1976 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. In 1986, he sang a duet with Luther Vandross, entitled "There's Nothing Better Than Love", which reached the #1 position on the Billboard R&B charts.

Hines made his movie debut in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1. Critics took note of Hines's comedic charm, and he later appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights, Running Scared, 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, Hines made his return on television with Nick Jr.'s Little Bill, as the voice of Big Bill.

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!. He also co-hosted the Tony Awards ceremony in 1995 and 2002.

In 1990, Hines visited with his idol, Sammy Davis Jr., as the great entertainer lay dying of throat cancer, unable to speak. After Davis died, a choked-up 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.

Personal life

Hines' marriages to Patricia Panella and Pamela Koslow ended in divorce.

Death

Hines died of liver cancer late Saturday, August 9, 2003, on his way to a hospital from his home in Los Angeles, California. He was 57. He was engaged to Negrita Jayde at the time of his death. He had been diagnosed with the disease more than a year earlier, but he had told only his closest friends. In addition to his father and brother, he is survived by his daughter, Daria Hines; a son, Zach; stepdaughter, Jessica Koslow; and a grandson.

Gregory Hines was buried at Saint Volodymyr's Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, in Canada.

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