Singer, actor, producer and activist Harry Belafonte died of congestive heart failure at his Manhattan home on Tuesday
The 96-year-old 6 spawned a calypso craze in the U.S. with his music and blazed new trails for African American performers.
An award-winning Broadway performer and a versatile recording and concert star of the ’50s, Belafonte became one of the first Black leading men in Hollywood.
He later branched into production work on theatrical films and telepics.
Belafonte was an important voice in the ’60s civil rights movement, and he later embarked on charitable activities on behalf of underdeveloped African nations.
Among the most honored performers of his era, Belafonte won two Grammy Awards (and the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000), a Tony and an Emmy.
He also received the Motion Picture Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Governors Awards ceremony in 2014.
He made his RCA Records debut in 1954 with “Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites”; he had performed the titular folk song with his guitarist Millard Thomas in his Tony-winning Broadway turn. The 1956 LP “Belafonte,” featuring a similar folk repertoire, spent six weeks at No. 1.
He is survived by his third wife Pamela; daughters Shari, Adrienne and Gina; son David; stepchildren Sarah and Lindsey; and eight grandchildren.