Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (May 25, 1878 - November 25, 1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Audiences enjoyed his understated style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug in favor of cool and reserve; rarely did he use his upper body, relying instead on busy, inventive feet and an expressive face.
A figure in both the Black and White entertainment worlds of his era he is best known today for his dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films during the 1930s.
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