Nicholas spent much of his career dancing with his younger brother Harold. The pair first gained fame on radio before performing in local New York theaters and then at the Cotton Club. They first starred on Broadway in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, later appearing in Babes in Arms, St. Louis Woman (in which Fayard played the role of L'il Augie), and Sammy. The brothers also worked in nightclubs around the world and were seen in such films as Stormy Weather, Orchestra Wives, Sun Valley Serenade, and The Pirate.
In recent years, Fayard Nicholas acted in Hard Four, Night of the Golden Eagle, and other movies, in addition to making appearances in numerous TV specials and in film documentaries such as Broadway: The Golden Age.
The Nicholas Brothers received numerous awards, including the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 1991. They are also members of the Apollo Theater Halll of Fame and the Black Filmmakers' Hall of Fame. Harold Nicholas died in 2000 at the age of 79.