Gregory Hines (February 14, 1946 - August 9, 2003) was an American actor, singer, and dancer, regarded by many as the greatest tap dancer of his generation, and one who transcended the stage.
Born in New York City, Hines learned tap dancing as a toddler from his older brother Maurice. When Hines was five years old, he and his brother began dancing professionally, most notably at the Apollo Theater, in Harlem.
Hines appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights, Running Scared, and Tap. On television, he starred in his own series in 1997 called The Gregory Hines Show, as well as in a recurring role as Ben Doucette on Will & Grace.
He earned Tony Award nominations for Eubie, Comin' Uptown and Sophisticated Ladies. Hines won a 1992 Tony for the musical Jelly's Last Jam. He also sang a memorable duet with the late Luther Vandross titled "There's Nothing Better Than Love" in 1986.
Hines died of liver cancer at the age of 57 in Los Angeles, California. At the time of his death, he was engaged to bodybuilder Negrita Jayde.
In 1990, Hines was with an idol of his, Sammy Davis, as the great entertainer lay dying of throat cancer, unable to speak. After Davis died, a choked-up Hines told the press of how Sammy had made a gesture to him, "as if passing a basketball â€¦ and I caught it." It is not known if Hines was able to pass the ball on to anyone, though some people consider Savion Glover, who studied under Hines, may be a suitable contender.