Fayard Nicholas and his brother, Harold Nicholas, will always be remembered fondly for their entertaining dance routines. However, Fayard had quite an exciting life outside of his professional one. Inside the life of the late dancer.
Dance and music have always been interwoven and seen as an integral part of the entertainment industry. Despite how the eras pass and years change, the world still sings and dances to songs made years ago and even finds the dance moves entertaining.
In the 1930s to 1990s, the “Nicholas Brothers,” Harold Nicholas and Fayard Nicholas, were among the most recognized entertainers thanks to their mastery of the tap dance. Let’s take a closer look into the professional and personal life of Fayard Nicholas.
EARLY LIFE OF FAYARD NICHOLAS
Fayard was born in 1914. He spent the majority of his childhood in Philadelphia, where his parents were the lead for the Standard Theatre resident band.
The environment Fayard grew up in helped nurture his dancing talent, and soon enough, he acquired a few dancing skills. However, he forged ahead and improved his craft by studying the likes of Bill Robinson and Willie Bryant.
Apart from Robinson and Bryant, Fayard also took notes from comedians and acrobats that mounted the Standard Theater Stage. In 1927, he and his siblings debuted their first act in Philadelphia as “The Nicholas Kids.”
Five years later, Fayard and his brother made their first screen appearances in “Pie Pie Blackbird.” Their debut saw the start of a great career that spanned several decades.
In the following years, fans of the stars got to see them give outstanding performances in shows like “Kid Millions,” “All-Coloured Vaudeville Show,” and “Black Network.”
Apart from being a successful dancer, Fayard also featured in some well-known movies, such as “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and the 1941 classic film “Sun Valley Serenade.”
In 1943, Fayard and Harold performed a dance routine that had the world marveling. Along with Cab Calloway and his orchestra, the brothers performed a highly entertaining dance routine to Calloway’s song, “Jumpin Live,” in the movie “Stormy Weather.”
Fayard and Harold matched each other step by step and created a perfect dance. Their synergy was on a different level that fellow American dancer, Fred Astaire, described it as one of the best he had ever seen.
The icon died from pneumonia and the effects of a stroke he had suffered in November 2005.
The brothers’ legacy is still being kept alive years after their demise, primarily by family members. In a video shared on the “Turner Classic Movies'” YouTube channel, Fayard’s son, Tony, and his granddaughters, Cathie and Nicole, spoke about the greatness and influence of the “Nicholas Brothers.”
The video contained the best dance moments of Fayard and Harold from the movies. John described his father as a perfectionist, who used his whole body while dancing, and on the other hand, Harold was described as a flash dancer.
FAYARD NICHOLAS’S FIRST MARRIAGE
Although Fayard took the world by storm and made a great name for himself, he made sure to create room for love. Before his demise, he was married three times and divorced twice.
The talented dancer walked down the aisle for the first time with Geraldine Pate in 1942. In the subsequent years of their marriage, the couple welcomed two sons, Paul Nicholas and John Nicholas.
Fayard and Pate were doting parents to their children and stayed happily married for a few years before they called it quits in 1955.
Following their split, Pate revealed that she and the dancer remained friends and had no problems between them. She also stated that she could not remember the date of their divorce and the grounds on which they separated.
After his divorce from Pate, Fayard stayed unmarried for several years before finding love again in the arms of Barbara January. In 1967, the pair went a step further in their relationship by getting married.
Fayard and January’s marriage was admired by many, and the duo was a source of inspiration to young couples. On their 19th wedding anniversary, they held a private Baha’i wedding ceremony at the Motion Picture and Television Country House in Woodland Hills, California.
The private ceremony was attended by a host of close friends and family members, and pictures taken from the event showed Fayard’s two sons posing with the happy couple.
The couple celebrated more wedding anniversaries together; however, after 31 years of marital bliss, they went their separate ways.
Two years after Fayard and January separated, the former got married for the third time to the late actress, entertainer, and yoga instructor Katherine Hopkins.
Like her husband, Hopkins was no novice in the world of entertainment. She made appearances in movies like “The Bionic Woman,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “The Capture of BigFoot.”
Hopkins was born in 1950, which meant the age difference between her and Fayard was almost forty years. However, it did not impair their love or stop their romance from flourishing.
They tied the knot at the Van Nuys Hall of Records and resided in San Simeon. The pair had no children, but they were open to adoption and remained happy nevertheless. In a post shared on Hopkins’ Facebook page, the husband and wife looked happy posing together.
The actress was clad in a white dress with white floral hair designs, while the dancer wore a black suit, white shirt, and black bow tie. The post had no caption, but from the lovely smiles on their faces, they appeared to be having a fantastic time together.
FAYARD AND HOPKINS’S DEMISE
Fayard and Hopkins stayed married for six years before the renowned dancer passed away on January 24, 2006, at his home in Toluca Lake, California.
According to his son Tony, the icon died from pneumonia and the effects of a stroke he had suffered in November 2005. He was aged 91. On the other hand, Hopkins lost her battle to cancer and died six years after her husband’s demise on August 15, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.