Born in New York, New York, Hines learned tap dancing as a toddler from his older brother Maurice Hines. When Gregory was five years old, he and his brother began dancing professionally, most notably at the Apollo Theater, in Harlem.
Hines appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights, Running Scared, and Tap. On television, he starred in his own series in 1997 called The Gregory Hines Show, as well as in a recurring role on Will and Grace.
He earned Tony Award nominations for "Eubie," "Comin' Uptown" and "Sophisticated Ladies." Hines won a 1992 Tony for the musical "Jelly's Last Jam."