Harold George Belafonte, Jr., was born on March 1, 1927 in New York’s Harlem. Living with his grandmother in Jamaica as a child, he would return to New York to attend high school before enlisting in the navy during World War II. After his discharge from the military, he performed as a club singer to pay for acting classes. It would lead to Harry Belafonte becoming a very successful recording star as he introduced the world to the Caribbean style of music called Calypso.
In the mid 50’s Belefonte’s “Calypso” album became the first LP to sell more than one million copies. In 1956 his “Jamaica Farewell” single began its ride as a best seller for 26 straight weeks with “Mary’s Boy Child” a perennial Christmas song that continues to be a holiday favorite decades later. “Banana Boat” (Day-O) topped the Hit Parade in 1957, followed by “Mama Look At Bubu” that same year. Among his other hits, “Hold Em Joe,” “Cocoanut Woman” and “Island In The Sun” from a motion picture starring Belefonte. He has appeared in three films, ” Carmen Jones” in 1954, “Island in the Sun” in 1957 and “Odds Against Tomorrow” in 1959.
Harry Belafonte lives in New York City.
Also a Tony Award winning actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Harry Belefonte was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2011.