Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJanuary 24, 2006, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseKatherine Hopkins, Barbara January, Geraldine Pate
FactSelf-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 Fayard was considered the gregarious one of the duo; Harold was more withdrawn and introspective.

Fayard Nicholas was born in Mobile, Alabama on October 20, 1914. His parents were both vaudeville performers, and his sister, Dorothy, would also go on to have a successful career in entertainment. Fayard began dancing at a young age and made his stage debut at the age of six. He quickly developed a reputation as a talented performer, and by the early 1930s he was appearing in Broadway shows.

Fayard’s career really took off in the mid-1930s when he teamed up with his sister to form the Nicholas Brothers. The duo became known for their spectacular acrobatic dance routines, and they went on to perform in a number of films, including ‘Down Argentine Way’ (1940) and ‘Sun Valley Serenade’ (1941). They also toured extensively, appearing in nightclubs and on stage around the world.

In the late 1940s, Fayard began working as a choreographer and director, as well as continuing to perform. He worked on a number of successful films, including ‘The Band Wagon’ (1953) and ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (1969). He also staged the musical numbers for the Academy Awards ceremony on several occasions.

Fayard Nicholas retired from performing in the early 1990s, but continued to work as a choreographer and director until his death in 2006. He was inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Fayard Nicholas had a long and successful career in entertainment. He was a talented dancer, choreographer and director, and his work was enjoyed by millions of people around the world. He was inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

General Info

Full NameFayard Nicholas
DiedJanuary 24, 2006, Los Angeles, California, United States
ProfessionActor, Dancer, Choreographer


SpouseKatherine Hopkins, Barbara January, Geraldine Pate
ChildrenTony Nicholas
ParentsViola Harden, Ulysses Domonick Nicholas
SiblingsHarold Nicholas


AwardsKennedy Center Honors, Tony Award for Best Choreography, Grammy Hall of Fame
MoviesHard Four, Night at the Golden Eagle, The Pirate, Orchestra Wives, Pie, Pie Blackbird, A Century of Black Cinema, Barber Shop Blues

Social profile links


1Our father said, 'When you're dancing, don't look at your feet, look at the audience. You're not entertaining yourself, you're entertaining the audience.'
2One day at the Standard Theater in Philadelphia, I looked onstage and I thought, 'They're having fun up there; I'd like to do something like that.' We worked up an act called 'The Nicholas Kids,' and did it in the living room.
3My brother and I used our whole bodies, our hands, our personalities and everything. We tried to make it classic. We called our type of dancing classical tap and we just hoped the audience liked it.
4We can't do those routines any more; we don't want to, and I'll tell you why -- it hurts!
5When we were doing routines, it was like a love affair.


1The Nicholas Brothers were inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2002 (inaugural class).
2Former brother-in-law of Dorothy Dandridge. His ex-wife, Geraldine Pate, was her best friend.
3The brothers broke down racial barriers throughout their career. As child performers at Harlem's Cotton Club they were the only entertainers in the all African-American cast allowed to mingle with patrons.
4Father of Tony Nicholas.
5Self-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.
6Compliments followed them wherever they went. Dancer extraordinaire Fred Astaire once called The Nicholas Brothers' "Jumpin' Jive" dance sequence in the film Stormy Weather (1943) the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. Famed choreographer George Balanchine called their acrobatic movement ballet, despite their lack of formal training. Tapper Gregory Hines once said that if a film were ever made about the Nicholas Brothers, the dance numbers would have to be computer-generated because nobody could duplicate them. Ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov once called them the most amazing dancers he had ever seen in his life.
7Fayard's two granddaughters call themselves the Nicholas Sisters and perform the brothers' old steps on the road.
8Continued to tap dance and spoke frequently at dance festivals around the world until suffering a stroke in November of 2005.
9Dancing for nine U.S. presidents throughout the course of their careers, the brothers were awarded Kennedy Center Honors in 1991.
10Singer and tap dancer.
11Older brother of Harold Nicholas; together, they were billed as The Nicholas Brothers.
12Known for doing cartwheels landing in full splits.




Hard Four2007Ulysses
Night at the Golden Eagle2001Mr. Maynard
The Bob Hope Show1971TV Series
The Liberation of L.B. Jones1970Benny
Bon soir, Kathrin!1958TV Series
Bonjour Kathrin1956Specialty Dancer (as The Nicholas Brothers)
Musik im Blut1955
Sie können sich sehen lassen1955TV MovieDancer (as The Nicholas Brothers)
El misterio del carro express1953Dancer (as Nicholas Brothers)
El mensaje de la muerte1953as The Nicholas Brothers
Botta e risposta1950Dancer (as The Nicholas Brothers)
The Pirate1948Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Stormy Weather1943Dancer (uncredited)
Orchestra Wives1942Dancer (uncredited)
Sun Valley Serenade1941Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
The Great American Broadcast1941Railroad Station Dance Specialty (as The Nicholas Brothers)
Tin Pan Alley1940One of The Nicholas Brothers (uncredited)
Down Argentine Way1940One of the Nicholas Brothers
My Son Is Guilty1939Specialty Act (as The Nicholas Brothers)
Don't Gamble with Love1936Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Coronado1935Dance Specialty (uncredited)
The Big Broadcast of 19361935Dot
Jealousy1934Dance Specialty (scenes deleted)
Kid Millions1934One of the Nicholas Brothers (uncredited)
Barber Shop Blues1933ShortDancer - One of the Nicholas Brothers
Pie, Pie Blackbird1932Short1st Child with Nina / Dancer (as The Nicholas Brothers)


Orchestra Wives1942performer: " I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" - uncredited
Tin Pan Alley1940performer: "The Sheik of Araby" 1921 - uncredited


Introducing Dorothy Dandridge1999TV Movie consultant: tapping


Century of Black Cinema2003Video documentary acknowledgment


Getting There Is the Hard Part2010Video shortHimself
Pretty Things2005TV Movie documentaryHimself
Swingen anfaller2005TV Movie documentaryHimself
Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon2003TV SeriesHimself
Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty2003TV Movie documentaryHimself
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There2003DocumentaryHimself
ShirleyMania2002TV Movie documentaryHimself
Autograph2002TV SeriesHimself
American Masters1997-2002TV Series documentaryHimself
It's Black Entertainment2002TV Special documentaryHimself
Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story2002TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Omnibus2001TV Series documentaryHimself
I Used to Be in Pictures2000DocumentaryHimself
Biography1996-1999TV Series documentaryHimself / Himself - Performer
The Reel People1998TV MovieHimself
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1998TV SeriesHimself
Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
Janet Jackson: Design of a Decade 1986/19961996Video documentaryHimself (segment "Alright")
That's Entertainment III: Behind the Screen1994Video documentaryHimself
Des O'Connor Tonight1993TV SeriesHimself
The Nicholas Brothers: We Sing and We Dance1992DocumentaryHimself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts1992TV SpecialHimself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts1991TV SpecialHimself - Honoree
The 12th Annual Black Achievement Awards1991TV SpecialHimself
Janet Jackson: The Rhythm Nation Compilation1990VideoHimself (segment "Alright")
America's Dance Honors1990TV SpecialHimself
22nd NAACP Image Awards1990TV SpecialHimself
The 43rd Annual Tony Awards1989TV SpecialHimself - Winner: Best Choreography
Ebony/Jet Showcase1988TV SeriesHimself
The 9th Annual American Black Achievement Awards1988TV SpecialHimself (as The Nicholas Brothers)
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts1987TV Special documentaryHimself
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Gene Kelly1985TV Special documentaryHimself
The 53rd Annual Academy Awards1981TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Best Original Score
Hollywood Greats1978TV Series documentaryHimself
The Jacksons1977TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1974TV SeriesHimself - Dancer
ABC Late Night1974TV SeriesHimself
The Hollywood Palace1964TV SeriesHimself - Tap Dancer
The Colgate Comedy Hour1952TV SeriesHimself
Chesterfield Sound Off Time1951TV SeriesHimself
Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies1940DocumentaryHimself
Calling All Stars1937Himself (as The Nicholas Brothers)
An All-Colored Vaudeville Show1935ShortHimself (uncredited)

Archive Footage

Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1930s: Dancing Away the Great Depression2009Video documentaryHimself
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1940s: Stars, Stripes and Singing2009Video documentaryHimself
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical Treasure2008TV Movie documentaryHimself
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1920s: The Dawn of the Hollywood Musical2008Video documentaryHimself
The Pirate: A Musical Treasure Chest2007Video documentary shortHimself
13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2007TV SpecialHimself - In Memoriam
The 78th Annual Academy Awards2006TV SpecialHimself - Memorial sequence
Great Performances2003TV SeriesHimself
Hidden Hollywood II: More Treasures from the 20th Century Fox Vaults1999TV Movie documentaryHimself
That's Black Entertainment1990DocumentaryHimself
Brother Can You Spare a Dime1975Documentary
Fred Astaire Salutes the Fox Musicals1974TV MovieHimself
That's Entertainment!1974Clip from 'The Pirate'
MGM Parade1956TV SeriesSpecialty Dancer / Dancer
Dixieland Jamboree1946ShortHimself
Take It or Leave It1944Himself: Clip from 'The Great American Broadcast' (uncredited)


Won Awards

1994Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion Picture

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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