Broadway Star Passes Away Shortly After Turning 80

Broadway Star Passes Away Shortly After Turning 80

On a somber note, the world of entertainment mourns the loss of a true legend, Broadway star Maurice Hines, who passed away at the age of 80. Hines, whose career spanned decades, was a multifaceted talent known primarily for his exceptional tap dancing skills and his contributions to the world of musical theater. His passing leaves an indelible mark on the industry, and his memory will be cherished by countless fans, friends, and colleagues.

Born on December 19, 1943, in New York City, Maurice Hines embarked on his journey in show business at a remarkably young age. Alongside his younger brother, Gregory, the Hines Kids made their Broadway debut in 1953’s “The Girl In Pink Tights,” a production choreographed by the iconic Agnes DeMille. As they grew older, the duo evolved into the renowned Hines Brothers, captivating audiences with their extraordinary talent and chemistry on stage. In 1963, their father, Maurice Sr., joined them, and they rebranded as “Hines and Dad,” showcasing their extraordinary family bond.

The Hines Brothers quickly became a beloved fixture at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, where they delivered unforgettable performances, captivating the hearts of all who witnessed their talent. Their appearances on television shows like “The Tonight Show” and “The Pearl Bailey Show” further solidified their status as entertainment luminaries.

In 1984, Maurice and Gregory Hines received a significant break when they appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Cotton Club.” In this film, their natural chemistry and improvisational skills shone through. Maurice once recalled that all their scenes in the movie were unscripted, with Coppola encouraging them to simply be brothers on screen. Their ability to connect authentically led to a memorable performance, and they completed their part in just two takes. Tragically, this marked the last time the brothers worked together in film.

Despite their estrangement through a mysterious rift that persisted for a decade, the Hines Brothers eventually reconciled. Their reunion was a poignant testament to the enduring bond of family. This renewed connection was all the more precious as it preceded the passing of Gregory Hines in 2003, at the age of 57, due to cancer.

Maurice Hines’ remarkable career in musical theater garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. In 1986, he received a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his outstanding performance in “Uptown… It’s Hot!” This achievement was a testament to his immense talent and dedication to his craft. Not only did he excel as a performer, but he also ventured into directing and choreography. Hines played a pivotal role in conceiving, directing, and choreographing the musical “Uptown… It’s Hot!” along with his involvement in 2006’s “Hot Feet.”

The news of Maurice Hines’ passing struck a chord in the hearts of many in the entertainment industry. Debbie Allen, an actress, dancer, and director, paid a heartfelt tribute to her dear friend on social media. Allen and Hines had shared the stage in the production of “Guys and Dolls,” where she had the honor of being his first leading lady. In her touching tribute, Allen shared video clips and photos of her late friend, expressing her deep sorrow at not being able to speak with him or hold him again. She promised always to speak his name and bid him farewell with love.

Maurice Hines’ influence reached far beyond the stage and screen. His legacy as a trailblazer in the world of tap dancing and musical theater will continue to inspire generations to come. His contributions to the arts have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and his memory will forever be cherished. As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the extraordinary life and career of a true Broadway icon. Maurice Hines will be remembered not only for his exceptional talent but also for the joy, laughter, and inspiration he brought to countless lives through his artistry. His legacy lives on.