Autographed PhotosOrdersGalleryTime MachineLinks
Mailing Contact: 2109 S. Wilbur Ave. Walla Walla, WA 99362
E-mail: Time Machine Collectibles Fax: 509-525-0393

We at Time Machine Collectibles wish to extend our heartfelt
condolences to the family and friends of
Fayard Nicholas. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and fans alike.

October 20th, 1914 - January 24th, 2006

The two greatest tap dancers that ever lived-certainly the most beloved dance team in the history of entertainment are Fayard (born 1914) and Harold (born 1921-2000), the famous Nicholas Brothers.
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 neighborhood. Harold watched and imitated Fayard until he was able to dance too, then apparently, he worked his own ideas into mimicry.

      It seems that the Nicholas Brothers were immediately successful. Word soon spread through the city about their ingenuity and unique dancing abilities, and they were first hired for a radio program, "The Horn and Hardart Kiddie Hour", and then by local theaters, like the Standard and the Pearl.  While at the Pearl Theater, the manager of the famous New York Vaudeville Showcase, The Lafayette, saw them. Overwhelmed by what he saw, he immediately signed them up for his theater.

      From the Lafayette, the Nicolas Brothers opened at the Cotton Club  in 1932 and astonished their white audiences just as much as the residents of Harlem, slipping into their series of spins, twists, flips, and tap dancing to the jazz tempos of "Bugle Call Rag". It was as if Fayard and his still younger brother had gone dance-crazy and acrobatic. Sometimes, for encores Harold would sing another song, while Fayard, still dancing would mockingly conduct the orchestra in a comic pantomime that was beautifully exaggerated. They performed at the Cotton Club for two years, working with the orchestras of  Lucky Millinder, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Jimmy Lunceford. During this time they filmed their first movie short, "Pie Pie Blackbird" in 1932, with Eubie Blake and his orchestra.

      After this, their career began to gain momentum from the Cotton Club. The Nicholas Brothers then journeyed to Hollywood in 1934 to appear in the films "Kid Millions", "The Big Broadcast" (1936), and "Black Network".

      The Broadway debut of the Nicholas Brothers was in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, in which such stars as Fannie Brice, Bob Hope, Eve Arden and Josephine Baker appeared. The Nicholas Brothers act at the Follies, stopped the show so consistently that Fannie Brice, who followed in a skit with Judy Canova, was always forced to fall back regularly on a line at her first opportunity: "Do you think we can talk now?", which made the audience laugh, and then become quiet.

      It was their tour of England with a production of "Blackbirds" that gave the Nicholas Brothers an opportunity to see and appreciate several of the great European Ballet companies. Thoroughly impressed, they absorbed much of the techniques, and tried to incorporate certain ballet movements into their jazz dance patterns. In a short film that they made in London during this period, "Calling All Stars", (1937), this interpretative style is quite noticeable and intriguing to observe.

      The impression that the Nicholas Brothers made upon Balanchine, the choreographer, was so unforgettable that he invited them to appear in the Rogers and Hart Musical, "Babes in Arms", for the 1937 Broadway season. The considered this a high point in their career because Balanchine was a ballet master and they learned many new stunts. Because of their skill, many people assumed that the Nicholas Brothers were trained ballet dancers.

      In1938, the Cotton Club beckoned again, and it was during this engagement that they competed with the Berry Brothers, a black acrobatic dance trio, in a legendary conformation, a sort of dance-fight for supremacy. The event is a part of show business history.
During the 1940's, a long and brilliant association with Hollywood began, notably in a succession of marvelous dance sequences in six 20th Century Fox musical films.

      The nightclub and concert circuit took over their career, and there were long tours of South America, Africa and Europe. In 1948 they gave a royal command performance for the King of England at the London Palladium. Later, they danced for nine different presidents of the United States.

      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.

      The Nicholas Brothers  talents are enduring, and they involve themselves in shows at will. The magic is there in every movement, as it shall always be. They are the greatest tap dancers  that ever stepped on a stage.


(From the program of the 1998 Carnegie Hall Event: "From Harlem to Hollywood" A Tribute to Nicholas Brothers, "Tap Legends")

      Fayard and Harold Nicholas, whose careers span more than six decades, make up one of the most beloved dance teams in the history of dance - the Nicholas Brothers.  Legends in their own time and most recently portrayed in the award-winning made-for-television documentary, "We Sing and We Dance," they are best known for their unforgettable appearances in Hollywood musicals of the 1930s and 40s. Their artistry and choreographic brilliance, as manifested in their unique style - a smooth mix of tap, ballet, and acrobatic moves - have astonished and excited Vaudeville, theater, film, and television audiences all over the world.  According to "Who's Who in Hollywood", the Nicholas Brothers are "...certainly the greatest dance team ever to work in the movies."

      At a very young age, soon after their professional debut in their home town of Philadelphia, the brothers became international stars of stage and screen, and 60 years later, they were the recipients of prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for their extraordinary contribution to American culture.  Their activities continue.  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 Dance.

      Born into a show business family, the Nicholas Brothers honed their natural talents early on.  Their parents were musicians and led the orchestra at the Standard Theater in Philadelphia.  In 1932, the same year they made their first film, "Pie, Pie, Blackbird", with Eubie Blake, they opened at the Cotton Club, and remained there for two years straight, working side by side with the likes of Duke Ellington, Cab Callaway, and Ethel Waters.  Samuel Goldwyn saw them at the fashionable club and invited them to California for their first Hollywood movie, "Kid Millions" (1934). Harold, in addition to his dancing abilities, was a natural comedian, impersonator, and singer, and was often featured by himself.  His personal screen debut was in "The Emperor Jones", (1933), with Paul Robeson.  Just after their first Broadway show "Ziegfeld Follies", the brothers went abroad for the first time to star in Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds", in 1936 in the West End of London. 

      When the brothers were honored with a retrospective of their work in films on the Academy Awards television special in 1981, on could recall with pleasure some of their early appearances on the screen of "The Big Broadcast" of 1936; with Gracie Allen and George Burns; in "Sun Valley Serenade", (1941); with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, featuring Dorothy Dandridge dancing with the brothers in the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" number; in "Orchestra Wives" (1942), where they performed one of their most beautiful routines to Glenn Miller's music of "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo"; and in "The Pirate" (1948), in a dance with Gene Kelly.

      The Nicholas Brothers were contracted to the Twentieth Century Fox studio in 1940 and made six films there.  In all, they have made over thirty films, of which they themselves consider "Stormy Weather" (1943), their personal favorite.  It features their now-classic, breathtaking staircase routine, their last appearance on film as a routine.  Their lst appearance on film as a team was on of the highlights of MGM's 1985 compilation, "That's Dancing!"

      Fayard had a dramatic role in "The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970), and Harold's solo appearances include "Carolina Blues" (1944), in the spectacular Mr. Beebe number; "The Reckless Age" (1944); "Uptown Saturday Night" (1944), as Little Seymour, with Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Harry Belafonte; "Tap" with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr.; Robert Townsend's "The Five Heartbeats, (1991); and "Funny Bones:, (1995).

      The Nicholas Brothers' Broadway debut was in the Vincent Minelli-directed and George Balanchine-choreographed "Ziegfeld Follies" of 1936, with Bob Hope, Eve Arden, Fanny Brice, and Josephine Baker.  Balanchine was so taken by the youngsters that he put them into the original Rodgers and Hart's "Babes in Arms:, (1937).  Later, they starred in "St. Louis Woman", (1946).  Here, Harold played Little Augie, the jockey hand, and introduced the now classic "Come Rain or Come Shine" from the Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen score.  Recent theatrical awards have included a Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award for Best Principal Performance to Harold for "Stompin' at the Savoy", and a Tony Award for Fayard for co-choreographing the Broadway hit "Black and Blue" (1989).  Harold has enjoyed taking over the lead in Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies", the role of Mr. Magix in "My One and Only", and the role of Daddy Bates in "The Tap Dance Kid".  The year before last, he originated the role of Dr. Rhythm, in "If These Shoes Could Talk" at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

      In addition to the Kennedy Center Honors, the Nicholas Brothers have received numerous awards, including the Ellie, the Gypsy, and the American Black Lifetime Achievement Award.  They were inducted into the first class of the Apollo Theater's Hall of Fame and the Black Filmmaker's Hall of Fame and received their star on Hollywood Boulevard.  There have been film tributes at the National Film Theater in London, sponsored by the British Institute; at the D.C. Filmfest in Washington, C.C.; and at the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, to name a few.  Most recently, the Players presented an evening of Nicholas Brothers films.  The Cinematheque de la Danse in France is planning a film retrospective to honor the brothers later this year.

      The Nicholas Brothers are the recipients of the 1998 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in Modern Dance, to be presented in June, and they are the subject of "Brotherhood in Rhythm"; The Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers", a 1998 Ph.D dissertation at New York University by Constance Valis Hill.     

2003 the the Nicholas bothers were inducted into the Hall of Fame
National Museum of Dance & Hall of Fame
99 South Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518.584.2225, ext. 3012




FILMS (Link to IMDB)


*Harold Nicholas solo

**Fayard Nicholas solo

Night at the Golden Eagle  (2002)

Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There(2002)

Night at the Golden Eagle (2001)

**A Night at the Golden Eagle; 2000, Independent. (Adam Rifkin, director, Fayard Nicholas)

*Funny Bones; 1995, Suntrust Films. (Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Oliver Platt, Harold Nicholas)

A&E Special, The Nicholas Brothers: We Sing and We Dance 1992

*The Five Heartbeats; 1990. Twentieth Century Fox .... (Harold Nicholas as...Sarge, Robert Townsend, Diahann Carroll)

*Tap; 1989, Hoofer Films/Tri-Star. (Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis, Jr., Harold Nicholas, et al)

That's Dancing!; 1985, MGM/UA (All-Star cast)

*Disco 9000; 1974 (Harold Nicholas)

That's Entertainment! 1974, MGM. (Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Nicholas Brothers, et al) (archive footage)

*Uptown Saturday Night; 1974, Warner Brothers. (Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Harold Nicholas as....Little Seymour)

**The Liberation of L.B. Jones; 1970, Columbia. (Lee J. Cobb, Roscoe Lee Browne, Lola Falana, Fayard Nicholas)

*L'Empire de la nuit; 1963, UFA-Comacio, French (Eddie Constantine, Harold Nicholas as...Sidekick)

Pathe News Reel; 1948

Botta e Riposta; 1951, Italian.(Louis Armstrong, Nicholas Brothers, Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines)

The Pirate; 1948, MGM. (Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Nicholas Brothers) 

Dixieland Jamboree; 1946, Vitaphone short subject. (Cab Calloway, Adelaide Hall, Nicholas Brothers)

*Carolina Blues; 1944, Columbia. (Ann Miller, Kay Kyser, Victor Moore, Harold Nicholas, Four Step Brothers.)

*The Reckless Age; 1944, Universal. (Gloria Jean, Henry Stephenson, Harold Nicholas, Delta Rhythm Boys.)

Take It or Leave It; 1944, Twentieth Century Fox. (Phil Baker, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Nicholas Brothers.) 

Stormy Weather; 1943

Orchestra Wives; 1942, Twentieth Century Fox. (George Montgomery, Glenn Miller, Jackie Gleason, Cesar Romero, Nicholas Brothers.)

Sun Valley Serenade; 1941, Twentieth Century Fox. Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller, Milton Berle, Nicholas Brothers, Dorothy Dandridge, Nicholas Brothers.)

The Great American Broadcast; 1941, Twentieth Century Fox. Alice Faye, John Payne, Jack Oakie, Nicholas Brothers, Ink Spots.)

Tin Pan Alley; 1940, Twentieth Century Fox. (Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Carmen Miranda, Nicholas Brothers)

Down Argentine Way; 1940, Twentieth Century Fox. (Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Carmen Miranda, Nicholas Brothers.)

Calling All Stars; 1937, British Lion. (Larry Adler, Ambrose & His Orchestra, Elisabeth Welch, Buck & Bubbles, Nicholas Brothers.)

My American Wife; 1936 MGM. (Francis Lederer, Ann Sothern, Billie Burke, Nicholas Brothers.)

The Black Network; 1936, Vitaphone short subject. (Nina Mae McKinney, Nicholas Brothers, Amanda Randolph.)

Coronado; 1936, MGM. (Eddie Cuchin & His Orchestra, Jack Haley, Andy Devine, Leon Errol, Nicholas Brothers.)

The Big Broadcast of 1936; 1935, Paramount. (Bing Crosby, Burns & Allen, Cab Calloway, Jackie Oakie, Nicholas Brothers, et al.)

The All-Colored Vaudeville Show; 1935, Vitaphone short subject. (Adelaide Hall, Nicholas Brothers.)

Kid Millions; 1934, Samuel Goldwyn. (Eddie Cantor, George Murphy, Ann Sothern, Ethel Merman, Nicholas Brothers.)

*Syncopancy; 1933, Max Fleisher / Paramount short subject. (Stoopnagie & Bud, Harold Nicholas) 

*The Emperor Jones; 1933, United Artists. (Paul Roberson, Fredi Washington, Dudley Digges, Harold Nicholas.)

Pie, Pie Blackbird; 1932, Vitaphone short subject. (Eubie Blake & his band, Nina May McKinney, Nicholas Brothers.)

The Nicholas Brothers Stage Credits:

*Harold Nicholas solo

**Fayard Nicholas solo

*If These Shoes Could Talk; 1993, Milwaukee, WI.

* My One and Only; 1992, Fayetteville, N.C.

*Sophisticated Ladies; 1992, Dallas, TX. 

*Sophisticated Ladies; 1992, Houston, TX.

*Sweet 'n' Hot in Harlem, 1991, (choreography), Buffalo, N.Y.

*Sophisticated Ladies; 1991, Sacramento, CA. 

*The Nutcracker; 1990, San Diego, CA.

*Sophisticated Ladies; 1989, Long Beach, CA. 

*My One and Only; 1989, San Diego, CA. 

*My One and Only; 1989, San Bernadino, CA. 

**Black and Blue, 1989, (co-choreography), Broadway.

The Tap Dance Kid; 1985 & 1986, National Tour.

*Waltz of the Storch Boogie; 1984, Off-Broadway.

*Sophisticated Ladies; Las Vegas, NV.

*Stompin' at the Savoy; 1981, San Francisco, CA.

*Evolution of the Blues; 1978, San Francisco, CA. 

Sammy on Broadway; 1974, Broadway.

*Free and Easy; 1960, Paris, France.

*Free and Easy; 1959, Amsterdam, Holland.

St. Louis Woman; 1946, Broadway.

Babe in Arms; 1937, Broadway.

Lew Leslie's Blackbirds; 1936, London, England.

Ziegfeld Follies; 1936, Broadway. 


Nicholas Brothers Awards and Honors: 

Dance Magazine Award; 1995

Gypsy Award presented by the Professional Dancers Society; 1994

Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame; 1994

Flo-Bert Award; 1992

The National Black Media Coalition Lifetime Achievement Award; 1992

Kennedy Center Honors; 1991

Harbor Performing Arts Center Lifetime Achievement Award to Harold; 1991

Tony Award to Fayard for choreography of "Black and Blue"; 1989

DEA Award presented to Harold by the Dance Educators of America; 1988

"Ebony" Lifetime Achievement Award; 1987

Apollo Theater's Hall of Fame, First Class Inductees; 1986

Ellie Award presented by the National Film Society; 1984

Bay Area Theaters Critics Circle Award to Harold for Best Principal Performance in "Stompin' at the Savoy"; 1981

Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame; 1978 



Autographed Photos - Orders - Gallery - Time Machine - Links