Harry Belafonte, an American singer, songwriter, actor and political activist, died on Tuesday at the age of 96, Reuters reported.
Harry Belafonte was born in Manhattan, New York in 1927, but spent his childhood in Jamaica, where his family came from. After serving in the Navy, Belafonte studied acting at Erwin Piscator’s famous theater workshops, alongside such stars as Marlon Brando and Tony Curtis.
He earned his tuition money by singing in New York clubs. He soon became known as the “king of calypso”, performing songs such as “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell”. Released in 1956, the album “Calypso” topped the “Billboard” list.
Thanks to his success, he was the first black artist to perform in many exclusive venues in USAincluding places that remained inaccessible to such stars as Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald.
He made his Broadway debut in 1953. He won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the musical “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac”.
In the early 1960s, Belafonte worked with Martin Luther King in the black civil rights movement. In later interviews, he admitted that he was in a constant state of anger-fueled rebellion. “I have to be part of the rebellion,” he told the New York Times in 2001. – Anger is an essential fuel. Rebellion is healthy, he assessed.
He died at the age of 96 of heart failure at his home in New York City, said Ken Sunshine, a spokesman for the company representing the artist.
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