Hines left the family act at age 27 to kick off his Broadway career. Before long, he was being nominated for Tony Awards for his work in musicals such as "Eubie!" (1979). Hollywood soon came calling, and Hines began appearing in numerous films, some of which capitalized on his dancing skills (1984's The Cotton Club) and some of which didn't (1995's Waiting to Exhale and 1996's The Preacher's Wife).
Although Hines continued to make movies, his later years were dominated by TV work, including his eponymous sitcom, "The Gregory Hines Show" (1997-'98), and a recurring role on "Will & Grace."