Fayard Antonio Nicholas, American choreographer, dancer and actor, Died at 91


Fayard Antonio Nicholas died on January 24, 2006 at the age of 91; he was an American choreographer, dancer and actor.

Fayard Nicholas was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 2001, along with his brother.

Heading west in 1934, to Hollywood, California, Fayard and Harold appeared in the films Kid Millions (1934), The Big Broadcast (1936) and Black Network.

They made their Broadway debut in a version of the Ziegfeld Follies, alongside the likes of Bob Hope and Ethel Merman, in 1936.

That same year, while performing in Manchester, England, as part of the cast of the touring show Blackbirds, the brothers were introduced to and developed an appreciation for a number of highly regarded European ballet companies.

By the start of the 1940s, the Nicholas Brothers were international celebrities.

The two men starred in several hit films, including Stormy Weather (1943) with Cab Calloway and Lena Horne, and acquired a reputation as the finest dance team in America.

Fayard Nicholas was one-half of The Nicholas Brothers, a famous African-American tap dancing team who appeared in several movies and became one of the famous and most beloved dance team of all time.

Self-taught, Fayard learned how to dance watching vaudeville shows while their parents played in the orchestra pit.

He then would teach the routines to his younger brother.

Fayard was considered the gregarious one of the duo; Harold was more withdrawn and introspective.

The Nicholas Brothers grew up in Philadelphia, the sons of musicians who played in their own band at the old Standard Theater, their mother at the piano and father on drums.

At the age of three, Fayard was always seated in the front row while his parents worked, and by the time he was ten, he had seen most of the great black Vaudeville acts, particularly the dancers, including such notables of the time as Alice Whitman, Willie Bryant and Bill Robinson.

He was completely fascinated by them and imitated their acrobatics and clowning for the kids in his neighbourhood.

The Nicholas Brothers have headlined shows all over the world. They have appeared in every major television show, nightclub and theater in America and performed for the troops in Viet Nam in 1965.

The Nicholas Brothers have received many tributes and awards, which include: A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Kennedy Center Honors (presented by President George Bush), and an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University.

They are also proud of the some of students they have taught tap.

They include Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, and Michael Jackson.

In April 1995, the Nicholas Brothers received the “Dance Magazine” Award around the same time as the opening of Harold’s latest film, “Funny Bones”, and in April 1996 they completed a very successful residency at Harvard and Radcliff as Ruth Page Visiting Artists in