Gregory Hines on ... Fame, Family and His Years of Living Dangerously; Star of Two New Movies Gave Up a Marriage and a Career in Order to Find Himself

By Randolph, Laura B. | Ebony, January 1991 | Go to article overview

Gregory Hines on ... Fame, Family and His Years of Living Dangerously; Star of Two New Movies Gave Up a Marriage and a Career in Order to Find Himself


Randolph, Laura B., Ebony


GREGORY HINES On... Fame, Family And His Years Of Living Dangerously

Star of two new movies gave up a marriage and a career in order to find himself

OF COURSE, it was madness, even for an experienced stunt man. Lying down in front of a moving train and remaining still while it passes just inches over your body is risky stuff for anyone. But for a dancer who depends on the split-second reactions of an injury-free body, attempting such a feat is more than dicey. It's crazy.

That's exactly what Eve of Destruction producer David Madden said when, just as the cameras were ready to roll on his soon-to-be-released movie, Gregory Hines dismissed the stunt double and insisted on doing the scene himself. "It's always a better shot when the actor does it and I didn't think it looked that dangerous," says Hines who stars as McQuade, a military marksman sent to kill a female android-gone-amok.

That was before he heard the train bearing down on him, before he realized he'd have to offer up his body seven times to get the shot exactly right. "I was scared to death," he confides now in an ocean-front Los Angeles cafe. "That thing was so loud, it was deafening. I guess it was a little crazy."

Hines, who turns 45 in February, has earned quite a reputation for being a little crazy when he really wants a part. To win the role of Sandman in The Cotton Club, he "instituted a reign of terror" on producer Robert Evans. "I started calling him every day and going over to his house telling him how perfect I was for the part," recalls Hines who, with the March release of A Rage in Harlem (see page 128), is starting the new year off with two films.

Unimpressed, Evans was blunt. "He told me if he got Richard Pryor he could raise another $10 million. With me, he might be able to get an extra $300 bucks." Figuring he had nothing to lose, Hines knocked everything off Evans' coffee table, sending expensive baubles crashing to the floor. Then he jumped on top of the coffee table and started to do what nobody in the world does quite like him: tap.

"I thought he was just Hollywood enough to dig something like that," says Hines, a hint of a smile lighting those famous come-hither eyes women would go to jail for. He got the part.

When he wanted to appear on Saturday Night Live, he displayed the same daring. Unable to get a meeting the conventional way, Hines, who was starring on Broadway in Eubie! at the time, showed up at SNL producer Lorne Michaels' office and announced he had an appointment, knowing full well he didn't. "When his secretary said I wasn't on his calendar, I said there's obviously some mistake. I'll wait."

Michaels left him cooling his heels for hours until he got the message and split. The next day, however, he was back with the same Lorne-and-I-have-an-appointment story. But this time it worked. "When she told me I was on his book, I said, `What? I am?' Obviously he'd told her if I came back he'd see me." Two weeks later, Hines performed a song-and-dance medley with legendary pianist Eubie Blake in what is now considered one of the series' classic shows.

In a made-for-movies twist, after seeing a rerun of that show, Luther Vandross decided to produce a Gregory Hines album, something the thrice Tony-nominated star had been trying to make happen for months. "Before Luther, I couldn't buy a record deal," says Hines who, in 1988, released his debut LP and scored a No. 1 hit.

Not that Hines' life has been fairytable smooth. It hasn't. At 24, for example, he had a wife, a baby daughter, a successful tap dancing career--and a profoundly painful life crisis. This was, he explains, no passing identity crisis, no spoiled former child star pondering what's it all about. This was a complete soul-searching, a fundamental examination of what he wanted from life, born out of a deep and unshakable unhappiness.

With older brother Maurice, he'd been tap dancing professionally since he was five.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gregory Hines on ... Fame, Family and His Years of Living Dangerously; Star of Two New Movies Gave Up a Marriage and a Career in Order to Find Himself
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.