Involved in show business since toddlerhood, Gregory Hines was a highly acclaimed tap dancer, choreographer, dramatic and comic actor, singer, and director. Hines is the brother of actor/dancer Maurice Hines. When Hines was two, his father employed him in a dance act with his older brothers. The child honed his dancing skills with master tap dancer Henry Le Tang. He was five when his father teamed him with his big brother, Jake, to form the Hines Kids. The brothers spent much of their early careers dancing at the Apollo Theater and learned much from such famed fellow performers as the Nicholas Brothers and Sandman Sims. At age eight, he debuted on Broadway in the musical The Girl in Pink Tights (1954). When the boys reached adolescence, they were called the Hines Brothers. In 1963, they became Hines, Hines and Dad, and started a ten-year stint on the nightclub circuit and on television. They also went abroad. In 1973, he left his brother and father’s act to form a jazz-rock group called Severance. He eventually came back to New York, where in 1973, he launched a distinguished Broadway career that garnered him a Tony (for playing Jelly Roll Morton in George C. Wolfe’s musical tribute Jelly’s Last Jam in 1992), three additional Tony nominations, and a Theater World Award.
Hines made his feature-film debut in Mel Brooks‘ all-star farce The History of the World, Pt. I, replacing an ailing Richard Pryorin the role of Josephus. It was actress Madeline Kahn who suggested Hines for the role. In film, Hines has proven himself a versatile actor and he has starred in everything from musical dramas in which he showed off his dancing ability (The Cotton Club and White Nights, in which he starred opposite ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov), to straight dramas (The Preacher’s Wife), comedy (Renaissance Man), sci-fi/horror (Wolfen), and action films (Running Scared). In 1994, Hines made his directorial bow with Bleeding Hearts. He released an album, simply titled Gregory Hines, in 1987. In 1997, he starred in the CBS family comedy The Gregory Hines Show as a single father who has trouble reentering the dating scene. Though that particular series was shortlived, appearances on such popular small screen staples as Will and Grace proved that the years had certainly not dulled Hines comic abilities. In addition, the prepetual entertainer also provided voice work for the Blues Clues adventure Big Blue’s Threasure Hunt and the popular children’s series Little Bill. Moving into the new millennium Hines appeared in such features as Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000) and the made-for-television biopic Bojangles (2001), in which he portrayed the title role of legendary dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Following a supporting role in the television series Lost at Home, Hines made his final film appearance in the 2003 feature The Root.
On August 9, 2003, Gregory Hines died of cancer in Los Angeles. He was 57, and the lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor three days after his untimely death.
Ashani Mfuko is a Social Media Strategist, Digital Marketing Specialist, Award-Winning Blogger, and Professional Dancer. Ashani works with small businesses, corporations, & non-profit organizations as a Social Media Strategist and Digital Marketing Specialist. She creates results-driven, innovative social media strategies that are proven to increase your revenue and catapult your brand to expert status in your niche! She has an extensive track record of creating and implementing successful social media strategies for her clients.
She is also the Host and Executive Producer of the “Inside New York City Dance” television show on MNN, and is a proud wife and new mom.
Ashani has been featured in Dance Magazine, as a “Media Maven”, as well as in Dance Mogul magazine, Inside Woman magazine, & Dance Studio Life magazine, in addition to various dance blogs online. She is the author and creator of the, “Finance Your Dance: How To Turn Your Passion Into Profit“ e-book and workshop, and her dance blog won the Reader’s Choice, “Top Dance Business Blog” of the year award, two years in a row. She is a leader in the field of social media and digital marketing, and is highly sought after as a dance performer and dance teacher in the New York City dance community. Ashani is on staff at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, and teaches Advanced Jazz classes for their Jazz & Contemporary program & Ballet program.