Harry Belafonte

Born Mar 1, 1927

Harold George "Harry" Belafonte, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist. He was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". Throughout his career he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes and was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W.… Read More

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    This Rare 1967 Mlk Interview Will Give You Hope For Tomorrow
    Huffington Post - 2 days ago
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    America Ferrera To Chair Committee For Women's March On Washington
    Huffington Post - 12 days ago
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    Google News - Dec 27, 2016
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    Bernie Sanders' New Book Takes Corporate Media To Task
    Huffington Post - Dec 14, 2016


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Harry Belafonte.


1927 Birth Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. at Lying-in Hospital on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York, the son of Melvine (née Love), a housekeeper of Jamaican descent, and Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., a Martiniquan who worked as a chef. … Read More
1932 5 Years Old From 1932 to 1940, he lived with his grandmother in her native country of Jamaica. … Read More


1948 21 Years Old Belafonte and Marguerite Byrd were married from 1948 to 1957. … Read More
1949 22 Years Old …  At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career on the Roost label in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress' American folk songs archives. … Read More
1952 25 Years Old In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor.
1953 26 Years Old 1 More Event
His first widely released single, which went on to become his "signature" song with audience participation in virtually all his live performances, was "Matilda", recorded April 27, 1953. … Read More


1957 30 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 1957's Island in the Sun, there are hints of an affair between Belafonte's character and the character played by Joan Fontaine. … Read More
1959 - 1960 2 More Events
1961 34 Years Old He was one of many entertainers recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at the inaugural gala of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. … Read More
1964 37 Years Old As The Beatles and other stars from Britain began to dominate the U.S. pop charts, Belafonte's commercial success diminished; 1964's Belafonte at The Greek Theatre was his last album to appear in Billboards Top 40.


1967 40 Years Old 1 More Event
His last hit single, "A Strange Song", was released in 1967 and peaked at number 5 on the Adult contemporary music charts. … Read More
1968 41 Years Old 1 More Event
From February 5 to 9, 1968, Belafonte guest hosted The Tonight Show substituting for Johnny Carson. … Read More
1971 44 Years Old He released his fifth and final Calypso album, Calypso Carnival in 1971. … Read More


1977 50 Years Old In 1977, he released the album Turn the World Around on the Columbia Records label. … Read More
1978 51 Years Old He subsequently was a guest star on a memorable episode of The Muppet Show in 1978, in which he performed his signature song "Day-O" on television for the first time. … Read More
1985 58 Years Old In 1985, he helped organize the Grammy Award-winning song "We Are the World", a multi-artist effort to raise funds for Africa. … Read More


1988 61 Years Old 1 More Event
He subsequently released his first album of original material in over a decade, Paradise in Gazankulu, in 1988. … Read More
1989 62 Years Old Belafonte received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989.
1994 67 Years Old 1 More Event
He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
2001 74 Years Old In 2001, he went to South Africa to support the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
The album was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Awards for Best Boxed Recording Package, for Best Album Notes and for Best Historical Album.
2004 77 Years Old In 2004, Belafonte went to Kenya to stress the importance of educating children in the region. … Read More
In 2006, Belafonte appeared in Bobby, Emilio Estevez's ensemble drama about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy; he played Nelson, a friend of an employee of the Ambassador Hotel (Anthony Hopkins).
2008 - 2012 4 More Events
2013 86 Years Old 1 More Event
On February 1, 2013, Belafonte received the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and in the televised ceremony, he counted Constance L. Rice among those previous recipients of the award whom he regarded highly for speaking up "to remedy the ills of the nation".
2016 89 Years Old In 2016, Belafonte endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Primary, saying "I think he represents opportunity, I think he represents a moral imperative, I think he represents a certain kind of truth that's not often evidenced in the course of politics". On October 1, 2016 Belefonte appeared on CNN to denounce Donald Trump and endorse Hillary Clinton for President.
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