- NAME: Harold Nicholas
- OCCUPATION: Dancer
- BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1921
- DEATH DATE: July 03, 2000
- Did You Know?: Harold Lloyd Nicholas was named after acrobatic silent film star Harold Lloyd.
- Did You Know?: Harold Nicholas was married to screen legend Dorothy Dandridge
- Did You Know?: In 1994, the Nicholas Brothers were presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Harold Lloyd Nicholas
- AKA: Harold Nicholas
Best Known For
Harold Nicholas was a popular African-American dancer who gained fame during the Harlem Renaissance. He and brother Fayard broke through the color barrier to become one of the most popular show business acts of the 1930s and '40s.
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Famed African-American tap dancer Harold Nicholas was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1921. Harold and his brother, Fayard, began performing together in New York City in the early 1930s, and became known for their intricate, high-flying song-and-dance routine. Today, the Nicholas Brothers are regarded as one of the most popular show business acts of the 1930s and '40s.
"They are probably the most amazing dancers I've ever seen. Those guys are perfect examples of pure genious."
[On Harold and his brother, Fayard.]
Harold Lloyd Nicholas—named after acrobatic silent film star Harold Lloyd—was born on March 21 or 27, 1921, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to college-eduated, musician parents. Harold and his brother, Fayard, began performing together as children, developing a routine that included tap and "flash dance." Performing as the Nicholas Brothers, they first appeared at Harlem's famous Cotton Club in the early 1930s, attracting notice for their intricate, high-flying song-and-dance routine.
In 1934, Harold and Fayard headed to Hollywood, California, to appear in the films Kid Millions (1934), The Big Broadcast (1936) and Black Network. They made their Broadway debut in 1936 in a version of the Ziegfeld Follies, alongside the likes of Bob Hope and Ethel Merman. While performing in Manchester, England, as part of the cast of the touring show Blackbirds, in 1936, the Nicholas 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, widely known as stars of the jazz scene during the Harlem Renaissance. 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. They also popularized tap dancing—which derived from Irish jigs and earlier forms of West African dance—around the world.
The brothers continued to perform together for five more decades. In 1994, they were presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The act came to an end when Harold died of heart failure, on July 3, 2000, in New York City. His brother and lifelong dancing partner, Fayard Nicholas, passed away six years later, on January 24, 2006.
Harold Nicholas was married to screen legend Dorothy Dandridge from 1942 to 1951.
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Tap-dancing brothers Harold and Fayard Nicholas broke through the color barrier to become one of the most popular show business acts of the 1930s and '40s. The duo began performing intricate, high-flying song-and-dance routines in New York City in the early 1930s, and went on to appear in such films as Kid Millions (1934), The Big Broadcast (1936) and Black Network. By the start of the 1940s, they were international celebrities. Explore full biographies, photos and video of the Nicholas Brothers, only at Biography.com.
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Famous Dancers 78 people in this group