I saw the movie "Tap" which starred Gregory Hines for the first time when I was 11 years old and I can honestly say that, if it had not been for his heartfelt and thrilling portrayal of Max Washington, I probably would never have entered a tap class.
Gregory Hines achieved so much, in such a short time, that it is very easy to overlook many of his accomplishments.
Here are 10 fun & impressive things about Gregory Hines that you might not know!
#1 - Gregory Hines is on a Forever Postage Stamp
On January 28, 2019 the United States postal service honored Gregory Hines by featuring him and his legendary tap shoes on a "Forever" postage stamp as part of their "Black Heritage" series.
I placed an image of this beautiful stamp atop this post.
If you would like to order a sheet of these stamps for yourself, visit the USPS website.
#2 - Gregory Hines Birthday is Valentine's Day!
It is fitting that someone who inspired so much love and creativity was born on Valentine's Day. The exact date was February 14, 1946.
So whenever February 14th rolls around, remember to wish a tap dancer "Happy Valen-Hines Day".
Interestingly, National Tap Dance Day is about 37-38 weeks before Valentine's Day so keep that in mind if you are hoping to "schedule" the birth of a creative tap genius.
#3 - Gregory Hines Taught Online
Few people are aware of this resource so I share it every chance I can get.
Before his passing, Gregory Hines recorded a very engaging series of tap videos that explore the history of tap, tap's creative process, tap techniques, and the tap dance artists who inspired him.
This content was developed by the non-profit, Joy2Learn Foundation which specializes in "bringing world renowned artists to your classroom".
#4 - Gregory Hines Hosted a Tap Show on PBS
In 1989, he hosted "Gregory Hines: Tap Dance in America" on PBS.
In this program Gregory Hines shares more from the rich history of tap dancing.
Watch the full program here:
#5 - Gregory Hines Brother Is Famous Too
Gregory Hines' elder brother, Maurice Hines is a renowned actor, dancer, director, choreographer, director, & singer.
The two started out performing together as children and continued well into adulthood.
The clip below is a favorite of mine from the movie "The Cotton Club" which features both of the Hines brothers acting and singing together.
If you haven't seen this movie, I'm officially assigning it to you as homework.
#6 - Gregory Hines was on Sesame Street
Speaking of Gregory Hines & his brother, the two also appeared together on Sesame Street demonstrating "near and far" and other concepts as only they can.
Gotta love that 70s style!
#7 - The Gregory Hines Show
Gregory Hines had his own sitcom from 1997-1999. In the show he plays Ben Stevenson, a widower who is raising his son and dealing with the ups and downs of re-entering the dating world.
Tap dancing was not usually featured on the show, save for one episode where Ben keeps dreaming about tap dancing. The scene builds and builds into a climactic and exciting finale that briefly features another tap legend, Savion Glover.
Check out the clip of this scene I found on YouTube:
If you look at this clip closely you'll see another famous African American tap dancer and actor...the phenomenal Dulé Hill from the show Psych.
#8 - Gregory Hines Did Voice Work Acting
If you ever watched "Little Bill" on Nick Jr. you witnessed Gregory Hines' voice acting.
Gregory Hines brought Little Bill's father "Big Bill" to life for millions of children each day.
#9 - Gregory Hines Recorded an Album
In 1988, Gregory Hines released a self-titled R&B album. The standout hit was a single featuring both Gregory Hines & Luther Vandross entitled, "There's Nothing Better Than Love".
This single peaked at number one on the U.S. Hot Black Singles chart and reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Listen to Gregory Hines' album below:
#10 - Gregory Hines is a Tony Award Winner
Gregory Hines' greatness extended from the screen to the stage and vice versa!
In 1992 he won a Tony Award in the category of "Lead Actor - Musical" for his outstanding performance in "Jelly's Last Jam".
In this wonderful tap video clip he performs in that very musical alongside future tap legend, Savion Glover.
Gregory Hines was a master of tap dance as well as a great actor, singer, dancer, director, & teacher.
He was an artist and entertainer of the highest order; inspiring many to do more with their talents.
I salute Gregory Hines for being such a wonderful inspiration to me and so many others.