Harry Belafonte Biography

Harry Belafonte (Harry George Bellanfanti Jr.)  is an American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor and one of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history who has won three Grammy Awards.

He was referred to as the King of Calypso since he made popular the Caribbean musical style in an international audience back in the 1950s. He was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Besides that, he was one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s confidants. In his career, he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes like the Anti-Apartheid Movement and USA for Africa.

He was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W. Bush presidential administrations. Since 1987, he has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and he now acts as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues. Besides that, he is a current board member of the TransAfrica Forum and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Harry Belafonte Photo

He won three Grammy Awards; Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. He received the Jean  Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards in 2014 and in March the same year, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Harry Belafonte Age

He was born on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S. He is 92 years old as of 2019.

Harry Belafonte Young

He is the son of Melvine (nee Love) who was a housekeeper and Harold George Bellanfanti Sr. who worked as a chef. His mother was born in Jamaica, the child of a Scottish white mother and a black father while his father also was born in Jamaica, the child of a black mother and Dutch Jewish father.

He attended Wolmer’s Schools and later went to George Washington High School. later, he joined the Navy and served during the Second World War. At the end of the 1940s, he took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York in New York while performing with the American Negro Theatre.

He received a Tony Award for his participation in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. On January 29, 2013, he was the Keynote Speaker and 2013 Honoree for the MLK Celebration Series at the Rhode Island School of Design. He was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity on January 11, 2014.

Harry Belafonte Wife

He married Margurite Byrd from 1948 to 1957 and they were blessed with two daughters; Adrienne and Shari. He had an affair with actress Joan Collins during the filming of Island in the Sun.

He married his second wife, Julie Robinson, on March 8, 1957. Julie was a former dancer with the Katherine Dunham Company. They were blessed with two children; his only son David and a daughter Gina. The two divorced after 47 years of marriage.

Harold then married a photographer, Pamela Frank.

Harry Belafonte Albums

He has released 30 studio albums and eight live albums.

Studio Albums





Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites








An Evening with Belafonte


Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean



To Wish You a Merry Christmas


Belafonte Sings the Blues



Love is a Gentle Thing


My Lord What a Mornin’



Swing Dat Hammer
Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording of 1960


Jump Up Calypso



Midnight Special


The Many Moods of Belafonte



Streets I Have Walked



Ballads, Blues and Boasters



In My Quiet Room


Calypso in Brass



Belafonte on Campus



Belafonte Sings of Love


Homeward Bound


This Is Harry Belafonte

Belafonte by Request


The Warm Touch

Calypso Carnival


Play Me


Belafonte’s Christmas


Turn the World Around


Loving You is Where I Belong


Paradise in Gazankulu

Live Albums





Belafonte at Carnegie Hall



Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall



Belafonte at The Greek Theatre



En Gränslös Kväll På Operan (Swedish)




Belafonte Concert in Japan


Belafonte ’89


An Evening with Harry Belafonte and Friends

Harry Belafonte Movies And TV Shows

  • Bright Road (1953)
  • Carmen Jones (1954)
  • Island in the Sun (1957)
  • The Heart of Show Business (1957) (short subject)
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959)
  • Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
  • King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis (1970) (documentary) (narrator)
  • The Angel Levine (1970)
  • Buck and the Preacher (1972)
  • Uptown Saturday Night (1974)
  • Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker (1981) (documentary)
  • A veces miro mi vida (1982)
  • Drei Lieder (1983) (short subject)
  • Sag nein (1983) (documentary)
  • Der Schönste Traum (1984) (documentary)
  • We Shall Overcome (1989) (documentary) (narrator)
  • The Player (1992) (Cameo)
  • Ready to Wear (1994) (Cameo)
  • Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995)
  • White Man’s Burden (1995)
  • Jazz ’34 (1996)
  • Kansas City (1996)
  • Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist (1998) (documentary)
  • Fidel (2001) (documentary)
  • XXI Century (2003) (documentary)
  • Conakry Kas (2003) (documentary)
  • Ladders (2004) (documentary) (narrator)
  • Mo & Me (2006) (documentary)
  • Bobby (2006)
  • Motherland (2009) (documentary)
  • Sing Your Song (2011) (documentary)
  • Hava Nagila: The Movie (2013) (documentary)
  • BlacKkKlansman (2018)


  • Sugar Hill Times (1949–1950)
  • The Steve Allen Show (1958) [71]
  • Tonight With Belafonte (1959)
  • 1963 Round Table (1963)
  • Petula (1968)
  • The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1968)
  • “The Tonight Show” (1968)
  • A World in Music (1969)
  • Harry & Lena, For The Love Of Life (1969)
  • A World in Love (1970)
  • The Flip Wilson Show (1973)
  • Free to Be … You and Me (1974)
  • The Muppet Show (1978)
  • Grambling’s White Tiger (1981)
  • Don’t Stop The Carnival (1985)
  • After Dark (1989) (extended appearance on political discussion programme, more here)
  • An Evening With Harry Belafonte And Friends (1997)
  • Swing Vote (1999)
  • PB&J Otter “The Ice Moose” (1999)
  • Tanner on Tanner (2004)
  • That’s What I’m Talking About (2006) (miniseries)
  • When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) (miniseries)
  • Speakeasy, interviewing Carlos Santana (2015)

Harry Belafonte Matilda

This is a calypso lamenting a woman who took a man for all he was worth.

Harry Belafonte Achievement

He has achieved so much, just to mention a few;

He was an honorary co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on January 21, 2017.

He was named a Grand Marshal of the New YOrk City Pride parade alongside Edie Windsor and Earl Fowlkes.

He received the  NAACP’s Spingarn Medal,  on February 1, 2013.

He was awarded the Domestic Human Rights Awards in San Francisco in 2004 by Global Exchange.

Harry Belafonte Day O

This is a traditional Jamaican Folk song. harry released the best-known version in 1956 and it later became one of his signature songs.

Harry Belafonte And Miriam Makeba

This is a 1975 compilation of duets of Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte that were previously released either in Belafonte’s or in Makeba’s discography.

Harry Belafonte Jump In The Line

This is a song sung by Harry and composed by Lord Kitchener.

Harry Belafonte Island In The Sun

This is a song written by Harry and Irving Burgie (Lord Burgess) and performed by Harry Belafonte for the 1957 film Island in the Sun and on his 1957 album, Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean.

Harry Belafonte Jamaica Farewell

Harry Belafonte Quotes

  • Although slavery may have been abolished, the crippling poison of racism still persists, and the struggle still continues.
  • You can cage the singer but not the song.
  • Without the rebellious heart, without people who understand that there’s no sacrifice we can make that is too great to retrieve that which we’ve lost, we will forever be distracted with possessions and trinkets and title.
  • I grew up in the Great Depression, and the jazz artists and Dixieland musicians were at the core of our communications and enjoyment. They were not passing fancies. They are something that is, and will be, listened to again and again. I have a space of reverence for some of those old jazz stars such as Sydney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.
  • I grew up in the Great Depression, and the jazz artists and Dixieland musicians were at the core of our communications and enjoyment. They were not passing fancies. They are something that is, and will be, listened to again and again. I have a space of reverence for some of those old jazz stars such as Sydney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.
Categories: People