Bill " Bojangles " ROBINSON " The Sand Dance " !!!
RARE OLDIES VIDEO FROM THE FILM " STORMY WEATHER " WITH MR BILL ROBINSON ! Bill Bojangles Robinson (May 25, 1878 November 25, 1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia to Maxwell, a machine-shop worker, and Maria Robinson, a choir singer. He was raised by his grandmother after both parents died when he was an infant—his father from chronic heart disease, and his mother from natural causes. Details of Robinson's early life are known only through legend, much of it perpetuated by Bill Robinson himself. He claims he was christened "Luther"—a name he did not like. He suggested to his younger brother Bill that they should exchange names. When Bill objected, Luther applied his fists, and the exchange was made. At the age of six, Robinson began dancing for a living, appearing as a "hoofer" or song-and-dance man in local beer gardens. He soon dropped out of school to pursue dancing as a career. In 1886, he joined Mayme Remington's troupe in Washington, DC, and toured with them. In 1891, at the age of 12, he joined a traveling company in The South Before the War, and in 1905 worked with George Cooper as a vaudeville team. He gained great success as a nightclub and musical comedy performer, and during the next 25 years became one of the toasts of Broadway. Not until he was 50 did he dance for white audiences, having devoted his early career exclusively to appearances on the black theater circuit. In 1908 in Chicago, he met Marty Forkins, who became his lifelong manager. Under Forkins' tutelage, Robinson matured and began working as a solo act in nightclubs, increasing his earnings to an estimated $3500 per week. The publicity that gradually came to surround him included the creation of his famous "stair dance" (which he claimed to have invented on the spur of the moment when he was receiving an honor from the King of England, who was standing at the top of a flight of stairs; Bojangles' feet just danced up to be honored), his successful gambling exploits, his bow ties of multiple colors, his prodigious charity, his ability to run backward (he set a world's record of 8.2 seconds for the 75-yard backward dash) and to consume ice-cream by the quart, his argot—most notably the neologism copacetic , and such stunts as dancing down Broadway in 1939 from Columbus Circle to 44th St. in celebration of his 61st birthday. Because his public image became preeminent, little is known of his first marriage to Fannie S. Clay in Chicago shortly after World War I, his divorce in 1943, or his marriage to Elaine Plaines on January 27, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio.
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