Email Posts: Rusty Frank on Fayard Nicholas

Most Recent: 24 Jan 2006: Fayard dies at 91 - 24 Jan 2006 Tue

Ragnar, Harold, Katherine, Fayard May 6th, 2000 in Kansas City at Bruce Watkins Cultural Center for Leonard Reed Day

Video of Fayard (and Katherine too) at National Tap Dance Day 2001 (May 25) Kansas City Produced and Directed by Billie Mahoney at the GEM.

Copy note: If you wish to copy items/information from this page to one of your own, please feel free. The more such pages we have, the more the search engines will show any of the pages which will link to Rusty Frank's pages which in turn provide options to assist Katherine and Fayard. This is information from Rusty's emails to the dance community. All the pages which are repreating Rusty's emails are helping the effort to assist.

Tuesday: January 24, 2006

To all the Friends and Fans of Fayard Nicholas,

Our friend, our legend, our hero, our idol, our humanitarian – Fayard Nicholas – passed away peacefully at home tonight at 8:30pm, January 24, 2006. He was surrounded by friends and his loving wife, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas.

Fayard was brought home from the hospital last week. Countless friends and family came by to spend time, chat, watch Nicholas Brothers’ clips, sing, laugh, share stories, and just“be” with one of our favorite people on the planet earth.

I just got off the phone with Fayard’s son, Tony, and he said to me it was as though all the great legends of tap dance were calling out to Fayard, “Hey! Fayard! We can’t start the show up here with out you!” Harold Nicholas, Gregory Hines, Eleanor Powell, Cholly Atkins, Honi Coles, Gene Kelly, Paul Kennedy, John Bubbles, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Hal Leroy, Peg Leg Bates… and all of them, they’re all there, and yelling down to earth… “Fayard! We can’t start the show! You’re putting Heaven on hold! What are you waiting for? Get up there!”

Tony went on to say, he imagined that once his dad got up there will all the rest of them, he looked around and said, “My goodness! This is wonderful! I hope to tell you! Everything is copasetic!”

Tony finished by saying, “Now he’s there and they can start the show!


Fayard's son Tony, Fayard's younger sister Dorothy, and Fayard's wife Katherine wanted to make sure to let you know that the family can’t begin to tell you how much it’s all meant. Your support… all of you from every part of the globe. Every card that you sent, every email that you sent, every donation that you made, large and small, everything helped.

I know how it helped. I know that you kept their spirits lifted through this excruciatingly tyring time. I know that your donations helped get Katherine and Fayard out of debt. I know that it got them on top of their bills. I know that it allowed Katherine the release of worrying about money; she knew that she could do everything possible for her husband, and she did. Everything humanly possible was done for him.

Once they left the hospital last week, medical expenses were unbelievable, but your donations made it possible for Katherine to bring her husband home for his last days. Your donations made it possible for her and Fayard to get out of the hospital environment, and to be in the peace of their own apartment.

Be assured that there will be a “Celebration” of Fayard’s life coming up. I will let you know when I have the details. We can join together and laugh and shout and sing and dance this man’s praises. I, for one, will be there with my shoes on!

Now, may I personally thank you all from the bottom of my heart for what you have done. You have come together as one family, one voice, helping this beloved man and his wife in their hour of need. You have made my heart swell.

Thank you.

And now, in our man's words, "Hey now! Everything is copasetic."



P.S. Yes, I will keep the fund open for a bit longer, if you would still like to make a
contribution towards the outstanding hospital bills and some cushion for Katherine’s
future, while she gets back on her feet in these weeks and months to come.

Remembrances and Articles

Quick Notes


Associated Press - Radio News

Brief story on AP Radio News. Here are two links (same material in each)

The New York Daily News, article about Fundraiser on the 22cnd of January (two days before Fayard's death)

Fayard tribute is on tap

by David Hinckley
Daily News Feature Writer

Savion Glover, the defining tap dancer of the modern generation, will join a song-and-dance tribute Sunday to one of the last defining tap dancers of an earlier generation, Fayard Nicholas.

Glover, whose eclectic style has made him a star in the movies, on TV, on Broadway and in nightclubs, has consistently credited and saluted the pioneers of tap, and Nicholas is prominent among them.

The Nicholas Brothers - Fayard and his late brother Harold - began dancing in the 1920s and soon were appearing in a series of famous musicals that showcased their athletic style of dance.

"They set the bar," said Maurice Hines, who with his late brother Gregory started in show biz as a kid dance team patterned after the Nicholas Brothers.


"They were the best," said Glover. "No one has done what Fayard and Harold did."

Fayard Nicholas tribute, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Stern Auditorium, 101st St. and Fifth Ave. Tickets $25. Call (212) 279-4200.

Originally published on January 20, 2006
Full Story at:

Austin 360 - article about a dance company with notes on dancers, livelihood and health insurance, mentioning Fayard's difficulties.

XL Arts

The pain, joy and all that 'Jass' of professional dancers

By Clare Croft
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Running at full tilt, dancer Jacqueline Coleman launches herself toward fellow performer Poet Powell. Her shoulder stabs his torso as she flips over him. Coleman's feet barely touch the ground before she and Tasha Lawson take off for the other side of the studio.

The dancers' red faces and the echo of heavy breathing tell an intensely physical story: Nicholas Young's "Fractured Mingus" is difficult. Very. Leaving the dancers vulnerable to injury and adding to the innumerable obstacles for a dance company.

Young's work is part of Tapestry Dance Company's upcoming revival, "Jass," a salute to jazz music opening at the Paramount Theatre on Friday.

Months ago Tapestry dancers began rehearsing up to 30 hours a week in order to develop the artistic tool kits and stamina needed to shift between the nuances of the many styles. Long hours and physical challenges take a toll on the dancers, which Tapestry artistic director Acia Gray tries to address.

"Our bodies go through some crazy shock," she says. "We have some unique and odd injuries."

Soon, possibly next season, Gray hopes to offer her dancers health insurance, an almost unheard-of feat for a small dance company, especially one in the middle of a capital campaign for new space, another financial initiative on Tapestry's agenda.

... ... ...

Full Story at:

Saturday: January 7, 2006

Greetings Friends and Fans of Fayard Nicholas,

I wanted to let you know that NPR did a truly wonderful story on Fayard Nicholas out of their Boston site.
It really explains the situation he and many other dancers of his generation are facing.

Here is the link:

The writer, Debra Cash, had met Fayard some years ago, and has a deep respect (as do we all!) for him. And
it comes across beautifully in her article.

I have also added a short update about Fayard at the bottom of the article. (If you feel like adding
something there, too, go right ahead.)

Hope the new year is treating you well.


Sunday Morning: December 18, 2005

Dear Friends,

It has been some time since I have written to you about our dear one, Fayard Nicholas. He had been in ICU
for over a week. I just didn’t know what to write to you all.

But late last night I received this wonderful message on my answering machine from Fayard’s wife, Katherine:

“Our darling moved out of ICU yesterday. He’s opening his eyes a LOT! and he’s moving his lips as if he’s
trying to speak (but, of course, as long as he has this trache nothing's going to come out). And he kisses me!
And tonight when a friend left he waved goodbye and then as I started to leave, I said “good night” and he
waved with his right hand again! It’s little baby steps, but he is improving! “

So, clearly, this man is a real fighter and has no intention of going anywhere but home at this point. And
all of your wishes from around the globe are being reached!

I have to tell you, that five years ago when I had my accident (some of you may remember this – when I broke
my neck in five places and suffered a cervical cord injury), the doctors were very pessimistic about my
recovery ( But it was the support, the calls, the emails,
the cards, the flowers, and the visits that kept me buoyed up. So I feel that I know just what is going on
in Fayard’s mind and heart at this point in time.

Never stop sending you thoughts out there!

I am also happy to tell you that we have raised over $30,000 together. The help continues to pour in. Each
week I sit with Katherine with one or two other people and we open each of your cards and read them out loud.
The reason we have some more people is that we felt that your sentiments needed more “witnesses” – they are
soooo beautiful! (I’m thinking now that I need to make some kind of scrapbook with them all and bring them
to the hospital when Fayard can read again).

There was a great article in last Sunday’s New York Times, which explained the Nicholas’ situation, and this
brought in even more support.

The beautiful thing is that now they don’t have to worry about finances for at least six months – shall we
shoot for a lifetime?

Thank you again for keeping those “support wheels” going. I can never explain to you how touched Katherine
is by your communications -- it has really helped keep her going. Don’t stop all of your good work and good



P.S. Thanks to Stanley Sheff for helping me with the website and Liz Donaldson and Nick Santa Maria for
helping me "keep up"!

There are a bunch of Fayard pages on my site now:

General Info and How You Can Help:
New York Times article:
Dance Teacher article:
Nicholas Brothers' clip:

From 6 Dec 2005

Update on Fayard Nicholas,
Of The Legendary Nicholas Brothers
Currently in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California
12/6/05, from Rusty Frank

Dear Friends of Fayard & Katherine,

Please, one and all put your good wishes out there however you do it.

Fayard took a turn for the worse over the weekend and had an operation yesterday (Monday Dec 6th), which has left him in ICU. He is being sedated for anywhere from 1-3 days. And for the time being, there is really nothing that we know or can tell you. As far as we know, he is not suffering. I saw him for some brief minutes, and it just looks like he is sleeping, albeit hooked up to all manner of machines. There is a breathing tube supporting him, there is a drainage tube coming out of his head to keep the fluid pressure off his brain, etc. For anyone who knows the vitality of this man, this image is an inexplicable nightmare. The doctors won’t say anything except, “Wait and see.”

I went back to Katherine’s apartment last night with two of her dearest friends, Beryl Davis and Richard Fox, and we sat and opened a stack of your letters and donations. I know I will never be able to express to you how much these mean to her at this time. She kept saying over and over again last night, “It’s a miracle.” “It’s like Christmas.” “I can’t believe it.” “It’s amazing.” And the real truth of the matter -- “This man is so loved.” For those who have seen the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” imagine the last scene, and you’ve pretty much got it.

Again last night, we counted the checks, the cash, and the Trader Joe’s cards; again we paid the bills.

I do want to thank you all – because of you they are now debt free. All bills are up to date, and all debt is gone. There is even a two-month cushion in the bank. I have heard that there is still more on the way.

Please don’t stop sending donations or helping to raise it. Whatever happens this cushion is so very needed by them.

If you want to know all the details of how to help, go to our Fayard Fund webpage:

Again, thank you all for your actions in holding this couple in your arms through this nightmare of a time. I am weakened and saddened by his strife, but I am so very heartened by your love and generosity on all counts.

Katherine wished me especially to express her deep gratitude to each of you. She is stunned and can still barely understand that she and her precious husband are out of debt and have some money in the bank. I can’t quite explain it to you, but she is so full of love for each of you, just know this.

Katherine is a rock for Fayard, but she is going through the most awful trial watching her loved one go through this horror. Yesterday she was positively ashen. She is so utterly distressed and keeps praying that he comes through this without suffering.

Continue sending your wishes and thoughts and prayers, again, however you do this.

I will let you know when I know anything further.

My very best to you,

From 30 Nov 2005

Dear Friends of Fayard & Katherine Nicholas,

It’s been one week since dance-legend Fayard Nicholas, of The Nicholas Brothers, suffered a stroke which
left him hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Medical Centre in Burbank, California. Since this time, I began a fund-raising campaign to help this wonderful man in his hour of need. The response has been overwhelming. Over $12,000 raised in one week! And it’s still coming in.

Fayard Nicholas webpage added to my site:

Go there for ongoing updates and ways you can help. Forward the link to all you know who might care.

For the past week, emails, cards, Trader Joe gift cards, checks, and cash have been pouring in. I have
been spending every spare minute, pushing aside my normal routine, trying to keep up. So, first, please
accept my apologies for not answering every one of your emails, and also for not thanking you individually
for your donations.


Fayard is doing really well, considering he suffered a stroke one week ago and was still recovering from
his colon surgery last month. The stroke was on the right side, and so his speech and brain function were
unaffected, even though he is still paralyzed on his left side. He is getting stronger and stronger each
day, but, of course, this is very slow. He is already in physical therapy. The great news is that for
three days he has been able to eat apple sauce, and they are confident that the feeding tube can removed
very soon. He is still really “with it”, and able to communicate (though labored). He sits in a wheel
chair for several hours each day. So, just send all your positive thoughts on continued recovery!


Yes! $12,000, and it’s still coming in. I’ve contacted everyone on my Tap and Swing Dance email lists,
and all of you have forwarded them to your lists. Doantions ranging from $5-$1,000 have come through this.
I have called all my buddies, including the ever-generous Hugh Hefner. Hef made a wonderful
contribution that really helped put a dent in their debt.


Thanks to all of your generous donations, Fayard and his wife, Katherine, are now up-to-date on all their
bills! I took Katherine out to dinner on Monday night at a beautiful restaurant (just to get her out of
the hospital) – there was jazz playing, and everything – and she was in heaven. After, we went back to
her apartment and got all the bills sorted. We got all your checks ready for deposit, and wrote checks
that covered ALL the bills. I even dropped off the threatening bill from the Water and Power department,
so they still have power! Because of lack of income, they had been using credit cards for survival the
past few months, so now we just have to get rid of that; but I am confident, with all the donations still
coming in, those will be history within a week or two. This will really help to get their cost of living

I have now set up a fund to help them with their on-going needs. You can go to my website and subscribe
to the plan that works for you. The choices are: $5, $10, $15, $18 (“Chai”, Jewish for “Life”), $25, $50,
$75, or $100 a month. The money will go directly into their bank account. We already have four people
signed up!


I have been contacting many different organizations, such as the Actor’s Fund, to see if they can offer on-
going assistance, and that is going very well. I’ll keep you informed


YES! They have it!


I have been notified by dance friends all over, and I mean ALL over, that fundraisers have happened or are
in the works to raise more money for our Fayard Fund. In my opinion, we can’t raise too much money!
Imagine, they could actually go out to dinner once in a while, and maybe take in a show. At 91, Fayard
should be able to just relax and enjoy himself!


Katherine is amazing! A real angel. We should all be so lucky to have a loving person like her in our
lives even for one day. She continues to astound me with all her love and creative ideas on how to get
Fayard on the mend. She sits by his side day and night, rarely even going home to sleep (she sleeps in a
chair besides his bed). Of course, she is overwhelmed by everything. This is the second time she has
gone through this hospital thing with Fayard in one month! She says over and over again how stunned she
is by all the help coming their way. She said to me at dinner, “Rusty, we had hit rock bottom.” And I
know this was true. She told me that she can finally stop worrying all the time about money. She also
said something cute, she said that she is so used to worrying, that it’s hard to stop worrying!
She also begs your forgiveness in not answering your cards and for not thanking you personally for your
donations. But, know this, she is more grateful than you can ever imagine!


Thanks to everyone, especially Stanley Sheff, Nick Santa Maria, Joanne DeVito (Dancers in Transition),
Joni Berry (Professional Dancers Society), all those at the Actors Fund, for helping me get on top of this.


As I said, I am having a real hard time staying on top of this and running my business, too. Is there
anyone out there who could come into my office for a few hours and help me?

So there you have it. Thank you again, everyone. Keep the good wishes coming. And thank you for
spreading the word.

Remember, the website is:


Swing Shift on Tap * 406 E. Grand Ave * El Segundo, CA 90245

From 27 Nov 2005

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your outpouring of goodwill and concern for the well-fare of our dancing legend Fayard Nicholas and his wife Katherine. Fayard is on the mend from Tuesday's stroke which has left him hospitalized at St. Joseph's, Burbank, CA.

I have set up a Donation button on my website for sending emergency funds to Fayard and Katherine through PayPal.
The link is on my homepage:

I have also set up a Fayard Nicholas page, with ideas on how to help, and detailed background on his situation. Please feel free to look at this page and forward it to your friends and fellow dancers:

Katherine and Fayard May 6th 2000 in KC

I was at the hospital again tonight, and Fayard seems to be doing really well considering. He mostly was sleeping (recovering from the ordeal of his stroke), but when he awoke he was coherent and we had short conversations. Speech is labored, but trust me, he is fully there. I told him of all your donations and notes and love. He says "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Many of you wrote to me expressing your wish to send over emergency cash to them. Believe me, they could use it! Even with what's come in so far, they are in dire need. Since the passing of Fayard's brother, Harold, work has been sparse, and the bills have been pilling up.

If you want to get some money to them immediately, you can make a donation through the donation button on my homepage (, and then I will bring it over to them in cash.

Another option is to send them a check:
Fayard Nicholas
10153 1/2 Riverside Drive, Suite 219
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

I am also looking for people who would like to help them on a monthly basis, no matter how large or small. My dream is for them just to concentrate on recovery and not to worry about bills. If you are interested in donating monthly, please email me with your name, your phone number, and the monthly figure you would like to donate.

I want to say how touched I am of our dance world. You have stepped forward without hesitation to help this legend (who, as you have each stated over and over, has given us so much). I am so happy to tell you that over $1,700 in cash and checks and $110 in Trader Joe's gift cards have come in as a result of my first emails to you (and I know more is already in the mail). You should have seen Katherine's face as I kept pulling out more of your donations from my bag. She had collected today's mail, and we sat there together reading each of your cards accompanying the donations. She pulled out of stack of bills from her purse, waved them in the air, and ecstatically exclaimed that now she could pay these bills, many of them month's overdue and in various scary colors - pink, etc.).

Thank you all again. And thank you for spreading the word to all your dancer friends and dance fans. Everything helps for them!
I'll write again this coming week with an update.
All best wishes to you during this holiday season

With inexhaustive love from Fayard and Katherine Nicholas


This copy of Rusty's email letter is posted on