Getty Images
Getty Images

Harry Belafonte, 93, Is a Handsome Actor & Singer — Quick Facts about His Life and Legacy

Junie Sihlangu
Dec 05, 2020
11:20 P.M.

Harry Belafonte is not only an award-winning actor and singer, but he’s also a civil rights activist. In the article below, we get a glimpse into his life and the legacy that he will leave behind.


Harry Belafonte was born as Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York. In 2020, the star has already turned 93 years old and is seven years shy of becoming a centenarian.

His father was Harold George Bellanfanti and he worked as a cook while the star’s mother was a domestic worker named Melvine Bellanfanti. Both of his parents were Jamaican immigrants and he spent part of his childhood in the country.

Harry Belafonte receives The Lifetime Achievement Award during the Jefferson Awards Foundation NYC National Ceremony on March 15, 2017, in New York City | Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Harry Belafonte receives The Lifetime Achievement Award during the Jefferson Awards Foundation NYC National Ceremony on March 15, 2017, in New York City | Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

He served in the US Navy from 1943 until 1945 after a learning disability led to him leaving high-school. In his life he’s been married three times, starting with his first wife Marguerite Byrd whom he wed on June 18, 1948.

The pair ended their marriage in divorce on February 28, 1957. Belafonte then got married to his second wife Julie Robinson from March 1957 until they divorced on an undisclosed date.


His current and final wife is Pamela Frank whom he tied the knot with in April 2008. The star’s children are Gina and David, whom he had with Robinson and Shari and Adrienne with Byrd.

In his lifetime, the singer has been nominated eleven times for a Grammy Award. He’s only managed to win two of those nominations, but he had many other accolades to his name.


They include the President's Merit Award and the prestigious Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Belafonte has also been nominated five times for the Primetime Emmy Awards, with one win.

The win made him the first US African American citizen to ever win an Emmy Award. He was nominated for and won a Tony Award, and he has one honorary Academy Award.

In 1963, the star helped to get a group of celebrities to attend the march on Washington. One of his mentors was fellow entertainer Paul Robeson who urged an audience to join in singing songs with him.


Belafonte made his cinematic debut in the 1953 drama “Bright Road.” With regard to his music, in 1956 he made history when Calypso (his third studio album) sold more than one million copies.

The star’s LP included the hit songs "Day-O (Banana Boat Song)" and "Jamaica Farewell." Belafonte also became the first African-American television producer when he worked on the 1960's “Tonight with Harry Belafonte.”


His show earned him an Emmy Award. In March 1987, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) appointed him as their Goodwill Ambassador and in his later years, he was given other accolades.

The actor was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989. In 1994 he got the National Medal of the Arts and in 2006 the musician was gifted with the BET Humanitarian Award.

Belafonte, who has since retired, became ill in October 2015 before he was set to be the guest of honor at the Brooklyn Annual Benefit Gala in New York City. He ended up accepting the honor via speakerphone revealing he’d suffered a seizure.

Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Related posts

Why Michael Jackson Wore a White Glove on His Right Hand – Pics Where We Saw His Bare Arm

February 23, 2024

Juanita Hardy Became Sidney Poitier's First Wife within Months of Courtship

November 15, 2023

Why Aretha Franklin's Son with Special Needs Might Get Nothing from Her Will – Explanations

January 12, 2024

Gia Olimp Is Anthony Carrigan's Wife Whom He Met on the Subway by Chance

December 06, 2023

Harrison Ford 'Wasn't Expecting' to Have Another Child before He Met Single Mom & Raised Her Adopted Son as His Own

January 16, 2024

Prince Harry Seen at Las Vegas Event after Visiting Ailing Father, King Charles, Sparking a Heated Stir

February 09, 2024

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Arrive in Canada on Private Jet, Igniting Backlash: Photo & Details

February 14, 2024

‘Home Alone’ Cast Then & Now: What Became of the Actors from the Iconic 1990 Christmas Movie

December 07, 2023

Inside Prince Harry’s $2K-an-Hour Luxe Suite He Chose over Staying with Family While Visiting Ailing Dad

February 09, 2024

Charlie Chaplin Had 11 Children with 3 Women & Some of His Kids Became Actors Too

January 14, 2024

Sean Connery Was 'Hard to Watch' before Death & Couldn't Express Himself – His Final Days

December 20, 2023

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Respond to Criticism with Defiance – Details

February 16, 2024

Users Notice Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Looking Thinner During Their Skeleton Racing Outing: Photos

February 16, 2024

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Spend Valentine’s Day in Luxury, Sparking Criticism from Online Users

February 15, 2024