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Tim Molloy in Los Angeles
Monday August 11, 2003
The award-winning actor and tap-dancer Gregory Hines, best known for his roles in The Cotton Club and Will and Grace, has died at the age of 57.
Hines, who was known as the greatest tap dancer of his generation, died of cancer on Saturday.
A respected dancer and choreographer, he starred in The Cotton Club in 1984, and acted alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in White Nights and with Billy Crystal in the 1986 comedy thriller Running Scared.
He won a Tony award in 1992 for the musical Jelly's Last Jam.
Hines first became internationally known as part of a jazz tap duo with his brother, Maurice. On television, he had his own sitcom in 1997 called The Gregory Hines Show, as well as a recurring role on the sitcom Will and Grace.
Born in New York in 1946, Hines was encouraged to tap dance by his mother, because she wanted him to find a way out of the ghetto.
He and his brother began performing together when Hines was 5, and they performed at the legendary Apollo Theatre for two weeks when he was 6. In 1954 they were cast in the Broadway musical The Girl in Pink Tights, starring the French ballerina Jeanmaire.
"I don't remember not dancing," Hines said in a 2001 interview with Associated Press. "When I realised I was alive and I could walk and talk, I could dance."
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