On stage, an exuberant Maurice Hines was irresistible. Hines was a showman to the “ninth degree.” He died on Dec. 29 at the Actors Fund Home, an assisted living facility in Englewood, New Jersey.
Entertaining came to Hines and his brother, the late Gregory Hines, at ages 5 and 3, respectively. With their father, Maurice Sr., the three performed as Hines, Hines, and Dad, making regular appearances on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and in Las Vegas clubs.
The Hines brothers were multi-talented entertainers throughout their careers together and as solo artists. Many felt they were worthy of wider recognition. There was a memorable pairing of Maurice and Gregory in the Francis Ford Coppola film “Cotton Club,” which closely paralleled their lives away from the public eye. Gregory died in 2003 of cancer.
Always Supporting Other Entertainers
As news of his passing circulated, Maurice’s peers and mentees fondly acknowledged his leadership. He was considered a generous taskmaster.
“He was a shining light, and someone who I loved dearly. He chose me to do Ella Fitzgerald on stage in a play that was written by Lee Summers,” singer Freda Payne said on her Instagram page. “I’ll never forget him for doing that. I’m still doing it to this very day.”
At the March on Washington Film Festival in 2022, the documentary “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” was shown. A thorough look at Maurice shows his skills as a dancer, choreographer, actor, producer, teacher, and the ultimate “never let them see you down” entertainer. World-class entertainers like Debbie Allen, Chita Rivera, Mercedes Ellington, and family members and close friends paint an engaging and loving portrait of Maurice.
“Maurice Hines, I was your first leading lady in ‘Guys and Dolls,’ I will always treasure our journey together. My tears are for my inability to speak with you or to hold you,” Allen said in her Instagram post. Allen was also co-executive producer of “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back.”
Remembered Fondly By Many
In 2010, Maurice starred in “Sophisticated Ladies” in Washington, D.C., which co-starred teenage dancing brothers John and Leo Manzari. The Manzari brothers also performed with Maurice at Arena Stage, in his 2013 autobiographical show “Tappin’ Through Life.”
“It was an extraordinary privilege to be mentored by this man. At nearly 50 years my senior, he embraced me as a teenager with such generosity it boggles the mind,” John Manzari said in his Facebook tribute. “His willingness to overlook the arrogance of youth and nurture a stubborn young performer was a lesson on generosity in itself.”
Hine’s niece Daria Hines, daughter of Gregory, and Chole Arnold, a D.C. native, Emmy-nominated choreographer, and co-creator of “Syncopated Dancers,” posted a joint tribute on Instagram.
“It’s so hard to say goodbye to our heroes who hold history, the stories, the inexplicable star power that so effortlessly flows through their veins, and the ability to make everyone feel love and light,” Hines and Arnold said. “We will be lifted by your joy, inspired by how you ‘Tapped through Life.’”
Source: Washington Informer