EXPIRED: 07/27/10 – Maurice Hines, Sr., 88, was a salesman for White Rock Soda who, like every father, wanted a better life for his kids.

So he taught his kids to dance.

Besides selling soda, Hines was a drummer and he supported his sons, Maurice and Gregory, behind a drumkit while they tap-danced. Originally the pair was called the Hines Kids and they played clubs like Harlem’s Apollo Theater throughout the 50’s.

Eventually, the younger Hines boys asked their dad to officially become part of the team and the new nightclub act Hines, Hines and Dad, pushed the tap-dancing sons to even bigger fame by bringing singing into the mix. The group criss-crossed the States and Europe until 1973, when Johnny Carson saw them at the Playboy Club in Chicago and put them on the Tonight Show. It was a milestone because the trio had auditioned and failed seven times before.

After the Tonight Show appearance, Maurice Jr. and Gregory started to branch out into acting and became famous in their own right. When Francis Ford Coppola put the sons in his movie, The Cotton Club, the elder Hines signed on as a consultant. It was an homage to his mom, Ora Hines, who danced at the Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1920s.

Left to his own devices, Hines quit showbiz, attended maitre d’ school and ran the gourmet room at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Gregory Hines died of cancer at 57 in 2003. Maurice Jr. is a Tony-nominated actor and choreographer.



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