Harry Belafonte Dies Aged 96 - Noise11.com
Harry Belafonte and Barack Obama photo from Barack Obama Facebook page

Harry Belafonte and Barack Obama photo from Barack Obama Facebook page

Harry Belafonte Dies Aged 96

by Paul Cashmere on April 26, 2023

in News

Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte has died at the age of 96.

Belafonte released his first album ‘Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites’ in 1956. It reached number three on the US chart. His third album ‘Calypso’ was the first album by a solo artist to reached platinum (one million sales). ‘Calypso’ featured ‘Day-O The Banana Boat Song’, also popularised in the 1988 movie ‘Beetlejuice’.

‘Jamaica Farewell’ was also from ‘Calypso’.

Harold Bellanfanti Jr was born in Harlem in 1927. He studied acting in the 1940s with Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Bea Arthur and Walter Matthau and received his first Tony Award in 1954 for the Broadway show ‘John Murray Anderson’s Almanac’.

His first performance was as a club singer in New York with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis backing him.

Belafonte starred his activism by first appearing in a commercial for John F. Kennedy in 1960. Kennedy later made him the cultural advisor to the Peace Corps. Harry was also a confidante of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1963 he bailed King out of an Alabama jail and raised over $50,000 for the release of other protesters.

Harry was the organiser of ‘We Are The World’. He put the project together after seeing the success of ‘Do They Know Its Christmas’ in the UK the previous year. He contacted entertainment manager Ken Kragen who called Lionel Richie who co-wrote the song with Michael Jackson.

Belafonte acted into his 90s last appearing in Spike Lee’s 2018 movie ‘BlacKKKlansman’.

He died at his home in Upper West Side, Manhattan of congestive heart failure.

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