His mother Alma must have been happy that he was no longer performing because she was never thrilled with her son being an entertainer. Charlie Barnet wrote that his, "mother didn't like show business and once told me that she would rather see her son running an elevator than doing what he was." Barnet also suggested that Briggs' mother had influence over him and stated that, "he had a strong mother-complex which I think eventually kept him from being a big star."
It was about 1940 when Bunny Briggs seems to have begun dancing again professionally. From this time on he would be dancing with some of the biggest Big Bands in the business; Count Basie, Earl Hines, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet and Duke Ellington.
Briggs was performing in a Baltimore at a club in 1940 where he would dance on a table for part of his routine, when Charlie Barnet who was performing at the Royal Theatre, stopped by and saw him dance for the first time.
In his autobiography, Those Swinging Years, Barnet said he thought Briggs was, "one of the most talented performers I have ever seen. He was quite young... he really had it all. He was a sensational dancer, had a distinctive singing style and a great personality... He made several records with us and one in particular, East Side, West Side, was a big hit. It didn't matter whether we were at the Apollo or the Paramount, before a black or a white audience, Bunny broke up every show and was always a smash hit."
|Oct. 1948 with Erskine Hawkins Band.|
|1962 Newport Jazz Festival. Bunny on right.|
Duke Ellington asked Briggs to be the solo dancer for his David Danced Before the Lord number that had been featured in the 1961 film Paris Blues. It was to be part of Ellington's Concert of Sacred Music and would be performed in a church.
1989 was a big year for Briggs starting on January 26th 1989 he played a hoofer in the popular Broadway musical Black and Blue for which he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1989. He appeared in the Gregory Hines movie Tap where he does a great job singing the Dorothy Fields-Jimmy McHugh song On the Sunny Side of the Street. He further appeared in Tap Dancers in America the same year which aired on PBS' Great Performances.