Harry Belafonte Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (23)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameHarold George Belafonte Jr.
Nickname The King of Calypso
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Harold George Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927 in New York City. He was educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in nightclubs and theaters, 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 the ASCAP in 1960, his popular-music compositions include "Turn Around", "Shake That Little Foot" and "Glory Manger".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Family (4)

Spouse Pamela Frank (12 April 2008 - present)
Julie Robinson (8 March 1957 - 2008)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Marguerite Belafonte (18 June 1948 - 28 February 1957)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Adriene Belafonte
David Belafonte
Gina Belafonte
Shari Belafonte
Parents Melvine Love
Harold George Bellantanti Sr
Relatives Rachel Blue (grandchild)
Brian Blue (grandchild)
Sarafina Belafonte (grandchild)
Amadeus Belafonte (grandchild)
Maria McCray (grandchild)

Trivia (25)

Attended George Washington High School in New York City, where he was on the track team.
Belafonte created controversy in October 2002 when he made disparaging remarks about then-President George W. Bush's African-American Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican. Powell refused to comment or to inflame the situation.
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.
An admirer and personal friend 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 receive a Tony Award.
Underwent surgery for prostate cancer (1996).
Performed "Turn the World Around" at Jim Henson's memorial service.
He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C. (1994).
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 receive an Emmy Award, with his first solo TV special "Tonight with Belafonte" (1959).
He was a Kennedy Center Honoree (1989), he was awarded the National Medal of Arts (1994), and he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2000).
From 1954-61, Belafonte refused to perform in the American South due to the issues of racism and segregation.
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 (1967) 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.
A veteran critic of U.S. foreign policy, his controversial political statements on this subject 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, praising Fidel Castro, and condemning President George W. Bush's administration and the Iraq War. In a Martin Luther King Day speech at Duke University in 2006, Belafonte compared the American government to the 9/11 terrorists.
Awarded six Gold Records, Belafonte 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.
Appeared in the American Negro Theatre play "Days of Our Youth" (1946). His friend Sidney Poitier succeeded Belafonte and was spotted by a talent agent who ignited his Hollywood career. Both actors are activists and long-time friends. Born only nine days apart, they met in New York in 1947, before either was even in show business.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6721 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Vocal, public supporter -- along with Susan Sarandon and Cynthia Nixon, among many other celebrities -- of Democrat Bill de Blasio for Mayor of New York City. De Blasio won that city's 2013 mayoral election.
Friends with Jesse Williams.
His singing debut was at a Manhattan nightclub, the Royal Roost, during the intermission of a Lester Young performance. His backing musicians were Al Haig, Tommy Potter, Max Roach & Charlie Parker. They all volunteered to perform for "the kid.".
Took classes at the New School for Social Research under the GI Bill. His classmates included Rod Steiner, Elaine Stritch, Walter Matthau, Wally Cox and Marlon Brando.

Personal Quotes (23)

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), 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. (October 2002)
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.
If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro.
I don't think that we are a species or a people that can exist without making mistakes somewhere along the line. Some make mistakes that are greater than others. But I do believe that we should have the courage and the ability to look at something that we did, even if in the first instance we believed it, when in the wake of the aftermath and the truth, you find out that that was not the case, to then say, 'Let me go back and examine what led me to this conclusion. What gods was I serving? What masters was I serving? What was it all about?' and then try to be more instructive to people who will listen to you.
When I was 40 and looking at 60, it seemed like a thousand miles away. But 62 feels like a week and a half away from 80. I must now get on with those things I always talked about doing but put off.
Each and every one of you has the power, the will and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live in. ... You should go through life knowing, "I am somebody."
Even with all the difficulties and the frustrations that we feel-those of us who have been consistent in this journey-what makes it so remarkably attractive and encouraging are the men and women you meet on the way. I have met some glorious human beings: Eleanor Roosevelt, Fanny Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Dr. King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara, and Cesar Chavez and others not quite so famous-they are the ones who really make the journey rewarding. The work I do with UNICEF. The men and women I've met in Rwanda, South Africa, working against HIV/AIDS, and the courageous things that simple, wonderful human beings do for each other. In the face of all the inhumanity, their humanity feeds the capacity to endure and continue to pursue honorable solutions to our pain.

Salary (1)

Carmen Jones (1954) $1,800 /week

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