Broadway actor, dancer, and choreographer Maurice Hines passed away December 29 at the Actors Fund Home (in Englewood, New Jersey) due to natural causes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mr. Hines was 80 years old.
Mr. Hines was born in Harlem, and made his Broadway debut in 1954 in The Girl in the Pink Tights. He would then go on to perform in several Broadway productions, including Eubie!, Sophisticated Ladies, Bring Back Birdie, and Uptown...It's Hot! The latter, which Mr. Hines also conceived, directed, and choreographed, earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. Mr. Hines also created, directed, and choreographed Hot Feet on Broadway in 2006.
Mr. Hines and his brother, Gregory Hines, each studied tap growing up, and began performing as a duo around age six. The pair performed together in The Girl in Pink Tights, while also playing regular shows at New York's Apollo Theater. Together, they came to be known as the Hines Brothers, the Hines, and later, Hines & Dad, when their father (Maurice Hines Sr.) joined the act in 1963.
Mr. Hines' additional stage credits include playing Nathan Detroit in the 2001 national tour of Guys and Dolls, where he performed alongside Debbie Allen, Leslie Uggams, and Richard Roundtree. Allen shared a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Hines in the Instagram post below.
Gregory passed away in 2003 and Maurice Hines Sr. died in 2010, but Mr. Hines continued his family’s legacy. As a dancer, Mr. Hines mounted several solo performances, including a 2013 tribute to Gregory titled Tappin' Thru Life: An Evening With Maurice Hines. The tribute played in Boston, at New York's 54 Below, and at Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage for a six-week run.
As an actor, Mr. Hines also played a leading role in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club in 1984. Together, he and Gregory played a tap-dancing duo called the Williams Brothers. In 2022, John Carluccio's Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, a documentary about Mr. Hines' life and career, was released.
Charles Randolph-Wright, the executive producer of the documentary, shared a tribute on Facebook: “I was 21 and new to NYC when I met the legendary Maurice Hines. I couldn’t believe that he was even talking to me—THE Maurice Hines. He immediately became a mentor to me and so many others. He gave us permission to dance with zero boundaries, and to live our lives the same way. He was my big brother who had an unfaltering belief in my work, and kept me going when I wanted to give up…This world will never be the same without him. His unbelievable dance of life will never, ever end. Thank you Maurice for loving us so very much.”
Mr. Hines is survived by his nephew Zach and his niece Daria.