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Essays and Editorials on "The Movie Experience"

Note: The views and opinions expressed in "Beyond The Screen" editorial articles are not necessarily the views of 3BlackChicks Enterprises™; commentary presented in original form as submitted by BTS columnist, except where noted otherwise; copyright belongs to respective authors.

Article: "The Passing of Gregory Hines"
By Dwayne Dixon

Copyright Dwayne Dixon, 2003

[Editor's note: Dwayne Dixon emailed me awhile back on an issue dealing with Black animated characters; I wanted him to shape that email into a "Beyond The Screen" article, but that didn't pan out. So when he emailed me again today to lament the death of the multi-talented Gregory Hines on August 9, 2003, I jumped at the chance to include his tribute in the BTS. Of course, Dixon is not alone in fondly remembering Hines, or mourning his passing. Check out the "Viewer Voices" ™ webboard for a thread on Hines, as well as my review of Subway Stories, which featured Hines in the segment, "Manhattan Miracle". Also, Apple Computer recently featured a touching tribute to Hines - a noted "AppleMaster" - on its home page; though that tribute page is now gone, you can read more about Gregory Hines, Mac-head, at (search for "Gregory Hines"). /bams].

...I had something on my mind that I figured you would "get." In a word ... "I miss Gregory Hines" and I just needed to tell somebody.

Now - as I understand it, Greg wasn't the most popular Brother sometimes because he was married to a white woman ... or did he divorce his black wife for a white woman? Or something? All I remember is that it wasn't always really "politically correct" to be down with him. Be all that as it may, what a talented brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like you probably, I first heard his name back when one of the few black acts on The Tonight Show was "Hines, Hines, & Dad." I really didn't get into him until The Cotton Club. I remember going to see that move NUMEROUS times just to see the two tap dance routines with him and Maurice ... awesome!

From there, he did the Running Scared thing and then the White Nights thing. (I hated his character in White Nights BTW ... a confused, emasculated Brother.) I also remember everyone being amazed when he sang (beautifully!) the duet with Luther on "There's Nothing Better Than Love." I wasn't amazed -- I remember telling people, "Hey - he got his start as a 'song & dance' man!" (And did you catch the recent episode of Law & Order with him doing a FANTASTIC guest appearance?)

Of all his work, I remember two very specific performances that sum up the essence of what I enjoyed about Gregory Hines. Maybe you saw them ...

  1. Years ago, he and Larry Graham were guests on the Arsenio Hall Show. At a point in the show, Larry pulled out his bass and started playing some riffs ... and Greg improvised an entire tap routine to what Larry was playing. It was a virtuoso performance on both their parts!
  2. A few years back, Greg starred in a movie called Tap. Although it was a kinda "b-movie," it was notable because it was Sammy Davis Jr.'s last movie role. It also featured the Nicholas Brothers and a number of other hoofers. But the reason I bought this movie was a scene where the cast performed an impromptu dance routine in the street ... led of course, by Gregory Hines.

If you ever get a chance to see the movie, look for the scene. To me, it embodies everything I enjoyed about Gregory Hines. His humor, his charisma, his creativity, as well as his ability to flat-out DANCE. This Brother was BAD!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how or if he is being memorialized in his death but personally, I put the movie in the VCR tonight to watch him work. At the end of the movie, I just smiled and raised my glass to a true entertainment giant.

I'll miss him.

Sincere Regards,
Dwayne Dixon

More "Beyond The Screen" articles by Dwayne Dixon

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