Bill Robinson

Tap Dancer and Actor Bill Robinson

Full Name: Bill Robinson, nicknamed Bojangles
Profession: Tap Dancer and Actor

United States of America

Biography: Bill Robinson is regarded today as one of the world's best tap dancers. Robinson made his start in vaudeville, before becoming a movie star later in life.

Robinson created a new influential shuffle-tap style of dancing that made him famous. He also invented the stair dance routine, dancing up and down a staircase backwards and forwards.

From the 1930s Robinson was a Hollywood star famously appearing alongside child star Shirley Temple, for whom he adapted his stair dance routine in "The Little Colonel" (1935). Together they were Hollywood's first interracial dance duo.

Although a star, Robinson was still usually cast as a servant or butler. His dance routines with Temple were even controversial and deleted from "The Little Colonel" when shown in America's South.

Born: May 25, 1878
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Star Sign: Gemini

Died: November 25, 1949 (aged 71)

Historical Events

  • 1935-02-22 "The Little Colonel" premieres starring Shirley Temple, Lionel Barrymore and Bill Robinson, featuring famous stair dance with Hollywood's first interracial dance couple
  • 1943-07-21 Musical film "Stormy Weather", directed by Andrew L. Stone, starring Bill Robinson, Lena Horne and Fats Waller (singing "Ain't Misbehavin'") premieres in the US