Tap-dancer Fayard Nicholas, 91

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Astaire once told the brothers that the acrobatic elegance and synchronicity of their “Jumpin’ Jive” dance sequence in “Stormy Weather” (1943) made it the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. In the number, the brothers tap across music stands in an orchestra with the fearless exuberance of children stone-hopping across a pond. In the finale, they leap-frog seamlessly down a sweeping staircase. Fayard, born in 1914, and Harold, born in 1921, learned to dance watching vaudeville shows while their parents played in the pit orchestra. The brothers were good enough by 1928 to debut in vaudeville. In 1932 they made their film debut in the short “Pie Pie Blackbird,” and were booked at the Cotton Club, which became their base. They were allowed to mingle with the white celebrity patrons before going home to bed at 5 or 6 a.m. They would sleep until 3 p.m., when their daily tutoring began, then return to the club by chauffeur-driven limousine for the first show at midnight. Fayard was 18, Harold 11. Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn spotted them at the club and cast them in the Eddie Cantor musical “Kid Millions” (1934). Fayard remained on good terms with his first wife, Geraldine, and by all accounts, had a long and happy marriage to his second wife, the late Barbara January. He married dancer Katherine Hopkins in 2000. Fayard Nicholas, who with his brother Harold wowed the tap dancing world with their astonishing athleticism and inspired generations of dancers, from Fred Astaire to Savion Glover, has died. He was 91. Nicholas died Tuesday at his home in Burbank from pneumonia and other complications of a stroke, his son Tony Nicholas said. “My dad put heaven on hold and now they can begin the show,” the younger Nicholas said Wednesday. The Nicholas brothers were still boys when they were featured at New York’s Cotton Club in 1932. Though young, they were billed as “The Show Stoppers!” And despite the racial hurdles facing black performers, they went on to Broadway, then Hollywood. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *