Actor-dancer Gregory Hines is dead at 57. This man put tap dancing on the map for me. And ballet, in a roundabout way. "White Nights" was an amazing movie. Without Gregory Hines, I probably wouldn't have appreciated Riverdance nearly as much. Everytime I saw tap, I thought of him. And now he's gone.
This year's taken quite a few stars that I grew up watching. First Katharine Hepburn, then Gregory Peck, then Bob Hope, now Gregory Hines. Before when an aging celebrity would pass on, I would remember having watched a movie or two of theirs, or maybe remember my parents talking about their movies. But these losses have really dealt a blow. "The Philadelphia Story" was one of my favorite classic movies (Jimmy Stewart AND Cary Grant!!). Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books and Gregory Peck will forever be Atticus Finch whenever I pick up that book for a re-read. I remember watching countless Bob Hope specials on the Armed Forces Network while we lived in Germay. It felt like there was always one on. And Gregory Hines made dancing cool. I'll never look at my tap shoes the same way again (assuming I can find them to look at them - I haven't used them since my Irish dance class at Notre Dame) and listening to the Riverdance soundtrack will always be a little bittersweet now.
That nap keeps looking better and better.