Oral Histories

Interview of Fayard Nicholas

Choreographer, dancer, and actor. Member, with younger brother Harold Nicholas, of the Nicolas Brothers jazz tap dance duo.
African Americans in Entertainment and Media: Fayard Nicholas
African Americans in Entertainment and Media
African American History
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Choreographer, dancer, and actor. Member, with younger brother Harold Nicholas, of the Nicolas Brothers jazz tap dance duo.
White, Theresa Renee
Nicholas, Fayard
Persons Present:
White and Nicholas; occasionally Nicholas's wife, Catherine Hopkins Nicholas.
Place Conducted:
Fayard Nicholas's home at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Country House in Woodland Hills, California; Fayard Nicholas's home in Toluca Lake, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Theresa Renée White; B.A., Journalism/Communication, University of Southern California; M.A., African American Studies/Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA; C.Phil., Education/Cultural Studies/Film, UCLA.White prepared for the interview by consulting Nicholas's personal records, which include resume, appointment books, newspaper clippings, photographs, brochures and scrapbooks. In addition, the following film and literary sources were reviewed: Films: Kid Millions,Tin Pan Alley, Stormy Weather, The Pirate, That's Entertainment, That's Dancing, The Liberation of L. B. Jones.Television documentaries:We Sing, We Dance: The Nicholas Brothers(1992); Flying High: The Nicholas Brother(1999); Jazzing it Up: The Style of the Nicholas Brothers(Eye on Dance); The Kennedy Center Honors(1991).Literary sources:Ames, Jerry, and Jim Siegelman.The Book of Tap: Recovering America's Long Lost Dance.Billman, Larry. Film Choreographers and Dance Directors: an Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia, with a History and Filmographies, 1893-1995.Cohen-Stratyner, Barbara Naomi.Biographical Dictionary Dance. Cripps, Thomas. Slow Fade to Black: the Negro in American Film, 1900-1942. Frank, Rusty E. Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories, 1900-1955. Hill, Constance Valis. Brotherhood in Rhythm: the Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers. Klotman, Phyllis Rauch. Frame by Frame: a Black Filmography. Shorris, Sylvia, and Marion Abbott Bundy. Talking Pictures: With the People Who Made Them. Stearns, Marshall Winslow. Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance.
Processing of Interview:
Victoria Simmons, editor, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Nicholas did not review transcript. Jane Collings, senior editor prepared the table of contents. Simmons assembled the biographical summary and interview history. Laura Wyrick, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
60 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The interviews in the series African Americans in Entertainment and Media are designed to document African Americans in television, radio, theater and film and aims to better understand how they overcame bias and discrimination and were trailblazers who opened doors for other African Americans in the industry. Also documented is how inextricably linked each interviewee was to the history and struggles of the larger African American community in Los Angeles.