Home Entertainment Maurice Hines, Tap Dancer in ‘The Cotton Club,’ Dies at 80

Maurice Hines, Tap Dancer in ‘The Cotton Club,’ Dies at 80

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Maurice Hines, an actor, dancer and choreographer who starred with his brother Gregory Hines in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Cotton Club,” died Friday. He was 80.

Friends including Debbie Allen and John Manzari reported the news of his death.

Hines began studying tap dancing at 5 years old, making his Broadway debut in “The Girl in Pink Tights” in 1954. With an act modeled after the Nicholas Brothers, Maurice and his older brother Gregory, who died in 2003, began touring with their dancer father as Hines, Hines & Dad, appearing across the country and on several TV shows.

When Maurice Hines decided to go solo, he was cast as Nathan Detroit in a national tour of “Guys and Dolls,” then performed on Broadway in “Eubie!” On “Uptown…It’s Hot!” he worked as choreographer and performer, netting a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical.

Among the other shows he choreographed were “Harlem Suite,” in which he also starred; Louis Armstrong musical “Satchmo” and “Havana Night in Cuba.”

Though Hines was a mainstay on Broadway and in touring shows, his only feature film role came in Coppola’s 1984 musical as part of the tap-dancing Williams Brothers team.

He had television appearances on “Cosby,” “Eubie!” and “Love, Sidney.”

In 2010, Hines starred in “Sophisticated Ladies” in Washington, D.C., which co-starred the teenaged dancing brothers John and Leo Manzari. John Manzari remembered him on Facebook, writing “It was an extraordinary privilege to be mentored by this man. Maurice – at nearly fifty years my senior, embraced me as a teenager with such generosity it boggles the mind.”

Among the other shows he choreographed and/or performed in were “Yo Alice,” a tribute to his brother “Tappin’ Thru Life” and “First Lady of Song,” a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

The biographical documentary “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” was released in 2019.