Edit
Harry Belafonte Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (33) | Personal Quotes (18) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 1 March 1927New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameHarold George Belafonte Jr.
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Harold George Belafonte was born in New York City. He attended George Washington High School, where he was on the track team. In 1944 he left high school and joined the Navy. His wife, Julie Robinson, was a featured dancer in Katherine Dunham's dance troupe. Both Harry and Julie were, and still are, extremely active in the civil rights struggle.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ted Thompson <tedt@halcyon.com>

Actor, composer, author, producer and singer, educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in night clubs and theatres, and on television and records. His debut was at the Village Vanguard in New York. Also, he appeared in the Broadway revues "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" and "Three for Tonight". He owns his own music publishing firm and film production company. He won a Tony award in 1953, a Donaldson award in 1953-1954, a Show Business award in 1954, a Diners' Club award in 1955-1956, and an Emmy award for "Tonight With Belafonte". He has made many records. Joining ASCAP in 1960, his popular-music compositions include "Turn Around", "Shake That Little Foot", and "Glory Manger".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Spouse (3)

Pamela Frank (April 2008 - present)
Julie Robinson (II) (8 March 1957 - 2008) (divorced)
Marguerite Belafonte (18 June 1948 - 28 February 1957) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (33)

Born at 10:30am-EST
He won a Tony in 1953 for "John Murray Anderson's Almanac.".
Father, with Marguerite Byrd (aka Marguerite Belafonte), of Shari Belafonte.
Always outspoken in his beliefs, he created controversy in October of 2002 when he made disparaging remarks about Secretary of State Colin Powell. Far from being upset, Powell reportedly took the remarks good-humoredly, refusing to inflame the situation any further.
Recorded the first million-selling LP album with "Calypso" (RCA: 1956), which started a craze for this traditional Jamaican folk music in the United States.
A best-selling artist on RCA Victor records, his most successful albums with the label have included "Calypso", "Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean", "Belafonte at Carnegie Hall", "Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall", "Jump Up Calypso", "My Lord, What a Mornin'", "Belafonte at the Greek Theater", "The Midnight Special", "Streets I Have Walked", "Belefonte Sings of Love" and "Homeward Bound".
Served in the United States Navy.
Has a granddaughter, Sarafina and a grandson, Amadeus.
An admirer and personal pal of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Won Broadway's 1954 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "John Murray Anderson's Almanac," becoming the first Black performer to win a Tony Award.
Underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 1996.
Performed "Turn the World Around" at Jim Henson's memorial service.
He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1994 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
He was a close friend of Burt Lancaster.
Father-in-law of Sam Behrens and Scott McCray and Malena Belafonte.
His album Midnight Special (1962) featured the first-ever recorded appearance by a then young harmonica player named Bob Dylan.
Was the first African-American man to win an Emmy, with his first solo TV special "Tonight with Belafonte" in 1959.
He was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994, and he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
His triumphant success as an entertainer in the arts did not protect him from racial discrimination, particularly in the South. As a result, he refused to perform in the southern region of the U.S. from 1954 until 1961.
In 1985, he was one of the organizers behind the Grammy Award winning song "We Are the World," a multi-artist effort to raise funds for Africa, and performed in the Live Aid concert that same year.
Appeared on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and performed a controversial "Mardi Gras" number with footage intercut from the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots. CBS censors deleted the entire segment from the program.
In 1968, Belafonte appeared on a Petula Clark TV special on NBC. In the middle of a song, Clark smiled and briefly touched Belafonte's arm. The show's sponsor, Plymouth Motors, wanted to cut out the segment, but Clark, who had ownership of the special, told NBC that the performance would be shown intact or not at all. American newspapers published articles reporting the controversy and, when the special aired, it grabbed huge ratings.
Achieved widespread attention for his political views in 2002 when he began making a series of negative comments about President George W. Bush, his administration and the Iraq War.
A veteran critic of U.S. foreign policy, his controversial political statements on this subject in the early 1980s have included opposing the U.S. embargo on Cuba, praising Soviet peace initiatives, attacking the U.S. invasion of Grenada, praising the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, honoring Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and praising Fidel Castro. On a Martin Luther King Day speech at Duke University in 2006, Belafonte compared the American government to the 9/11 terrorists.
Son David is executive director of the family-held company Belafonte Enterprises Inc.
Has received Grammy Awards for the albums Swing That Hammer (1960) and An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba (1965). The latter album featuring legendary African singer Miriam Makeba dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid.
Has been awarded six Gold Records.
Appeared in the 1946 American Negro Theatre play "Days of Our Youth" in 1946. Sidney Poitier eventually replaced Harry and was spotted by a talent agent who ignited his Hollywood career.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6721 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood,California.
Is a long time friend of fellow actor and activist Sidney Poitier. They were born 9 days apart. They met in New York at age 20 before either was in show business.
Father-in-law of Malena Belafonte.
Vocal, public supporter in 2013--along with other celebs such as Susan Sarandon--of Democrat Bill de Blasio as the next Mayor of New York City.

Personal Quotes (18)

Unless you have had the experience of sitting in a village in war-ravaged Guatemala, or a humble, box-like room in the wretched South African township of Alexandra, or in a dust-covered hovel on a Native American reservation, or in the tin shacks that house the thousands who live desperate lives in East Kingston Jamaica, or in an overcrowded, below-poverty-level dwelling in a Ghetto in New York, Chicago, or Detroit, among people whose lives are dominated by their bitter struggle for existence and some bit of dignity, unless you've seen from these places the looks on the faces of small children as they watched Sesame Street or the Muppets, you'll never really understand what Jim and his colleagues have done for millions of children all over the world, children who have never smiled, nor dared to dream, had it not been for Jim Henson. I come from those places; I know these faces. Through them I came to fully appreciate Jim.
On "Larry King Live (1985)," October, 2002, clarifying his comments on Colin Powell: "It is my personal feeling that plantations exist all over America. If you walk into South Central Los Angeles, into Watts, or you walk into Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, you'll find people who live lives that are as degrading as anything that slavery had ever produced. They live in economic oppression, they live in a disenfranchised way. In the hearts and minds of those people, and millions of others, you're always looking for hope, and whenever somebody within our tribe, within our group, emerges that has the position of authority and power to make a difference in the way business is done, our expectations run high. Many times, those expectations are not fulfilled. But when such an individual is in the service of those who not only perpetuate the oppression, but sometimes design the way in which it is applied, it then becomes very, very, very, very critical that we raise our voices and be heard."
No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush, says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people support your revolution. - Remarks made to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in January 2006
I've always looked at the world and thought what can I do next? Where do we go from here? How can we fix it? And that's still how I look at the world, because there is so much to be done. The whole world is caught in human suffering. And those who professed about making change have not come up with answers. We have failed in terms of the moral side. We have to do more.
People from the Caribbean did not respond to America's repressions in the same way that black Americans did. We were constantly in a state of rebellion, constantly in a state of thinking way above that which we were given. My people were gangsters and lived in the underworld. And I don't mean major American crime. I mean, as an immigrant, if you can't find work within the law, you find work outside the law. Running numbers and so on. Which is, of course, a characteristic of the poor, who find ways to break the rules, since the rules are always stacked against them.
[on Harlem, 2011] One of the foremost things that we suffer from, for children, is the lack of models, of tangible role models. A lot of us, as kids, had no such problems. Because then, a lot of the achievers were also required to live in the middle of Harlem, or in the South Side of Chicago. 'Rich nigs' couldn't go anywhere. We saw Robeson. We saw Duke Ellington: he lived with us. Now, none of those heroic figures live in Bed-Stuy or the heart of Harlem. Now they live in Martha's Vineyard, Fire Island. In California, they live in Beverly Hills.
I wasn't an artist who became an activist. I was an activist who became an artist. Ever since my mother had drummed it into me, I'd felt the need to fight injustice wherever I saw it, in whatever way I could.
Knowing I was playing to an influential crowd, I'd snuck a little politics, with new lines for old songs, like 'Michael, Row the Boat Ashore': 'Mississippi on your knees, Hallelujah!/ Another bus is on the way, Hallelujah.'
To me, faith as practiced all around me was blindly tied to religion, and religion was preachers in Harlem and Jamaica passing the hat for Jesus and driving off in fancy cars. It was nuns invoking the Christian spirit and rapping my knuckles with sticks. It was priests blessing Italian troops on the newsreels, sending them off to slaughter defenseless Ethiopians. I failed to see any good in the hypocrisy of that.
In the days of slavery there were those slaves who lived on the plantation, in shacks out back, and those who lived in the master's house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master well. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture.
I was good as a singer, but I wasn't the best, and I'd known that from the start. I had to rely on my acting. And in the end I could make a case that I was the greatest actor in the world: I'd convinced everyone I could sing.
I believe that my time was a remarkable one. I am aware that we now live in a world overrun by cruelty and destruction, and as our earth disintegrates and our spirits numb we lose moral purpose and creative vision. But still I must believe, as I always have, that our best times lie ahead, and in the final analysis, along the way we will be comforted by one another. That is my song.
One of the things that made New York particularly complicated was that there were no laws in the state or on the books that segregated its citizens. There was no law on the book that said, "A black person cannot live here. A black person cannot eat here. A black person cannot go to school here." It was all something we just understood. We didn't go below 110th Street. We didn't go north of 150th Street ... or 145th Street. We didn't go farther west than Riverside Drive-well, I guess there's not much farther to go there! And we didn't go farther east than the East River. That was our ghetto.
When my mother gave birth to me, the city so terrified her-the intensity of it, the complicated way people pass through people's lives-she thought the best thing to do was to take her children back to the Caribbean, let them be raised by the village, and then at some point bring them back to America. I stayed in the Caribbean from 1 and a half to 12.
[on 'The March on Washington'] In the end, the day was a complete win-win. The Kennedys heaved a huge sigh of relief that there was not one act of violence. And to see at the end everybody singing 'We Shall Overcome' and all the arms linked - we've said it often, but it's worth saying as often as necessary - there wasn't a dry eye in the house. And it was all of America. All of it. You went through that crowd and you couldn't find any type missing, any gender, any race, any religion. It was America at its most transformative moment.
[on planning for 'The March on Washington', August 28, 1963] In my instruction to my fellow artists when we met several times discussing strategy for what to do, I said, 'The more we can find ourselves in the heart of the people gathered at the event, the more we can be seen and identified with the everyday citizen, the more we are all linking arms together - not just celebrity to celebrity, but a truck driver, a dentist or a housewife - and we're all linking arms together, the more powerful that imagery becomes'. My task was to make sure that we salt-and-peppered the afternoon into the early evening to look that way.
We who came back from [World War II], having expectations and finding that there were none to be harvested, were put upon to make a decision. We could accept the status quo as it was beginning to reveal itself, with those repressive laws still in place. Or, as had begun to appear on the horizon, stimulated by something Mahatma Gandhi of India had done, we could start this quest for social change by confronting the state a little differently. Let's do it non-violently, let's use passive thinking applied to aggressive ideas, and perhaps we could overthrow the oppression by making it morally unacceptable.
[on first meeting Martin Luther King] He had said that we would take maybe twenty or thirty minutes to just talk. It was almost four hours when we finally broke for breath.

Salary (1)

Carmen Jones (1954) $1,800/week

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page