What Happened to Harry Belafonte? How did He Die?

What Happened to Harry Belafonte?

Harry Belafonte, a legendary singer, actor, and civil rights activist who shattered racial boundaries, has passed away at the age of 96. He achieved worldwide acclaim with his popular hits, including “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”, won a Tony award for his acting, and appeared in several feature films.

However, Belafonte’s legacy extended far beyond entertainment, as he dedicated his life to fighting for various causes. Belafonte played a crucial role in funding numerous civil rights initiatives during the 1960s, which aimed to improve the lives of Black Americans.

He was a vocal advocate against poverty, apartheid, and AIDS in Africa and showed support for left-leaning political figures such as Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Belafonte’s tireless efforts to champion social justice and equality will remain an inspiration for generations to come.

How did Harry Belafonte Die?

Harry Belafonte, a civil rights icon and entertainment pioneer who transitioned into an activist, humanitarian, and global conscience, has passed away at the age of 96. Belafonte died at his home in New York on Tuesday from congestive heart failure, with his wife Pamela by his side.

He was a groundbreaking figure in film and music, being one of the first Black performers to achieve widespread popularity and sell over a million records with his silky-husky voice and handsome features.

He is best remembered for his signature hit, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” with its memorable call of “Day-O! Daaaaay-O.” However, Belafonte’s lasting legacy stems from his dedication to social justice and his embodiment of Paul Robeson’s belief that artists are “gatekeepers of truth.”

He scaled back his performing career in the 1960s and devoted his life to fighting for civil rights, inspiring humanitarian causes, and challenging injustices worldwide. Harry Belafonte was a true giant who left an indelible mark on the world and will be remembered for generations to come.

Who is Harry Belafonte?

Harry Belafonte, born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. on March 1, 1927, passed away on April 25, 2023. He was a Jamaican-American singer, actor, and activist who gained fame in the 1950s for introducing calypso music to international audiences.

His album Calypso, released in 1956, was the first LP by a single artist to sell over a million copies. Belafonte’s notable recordings include “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora),” “Jamaica Farewell,” and “Mary’s Boy Child.”

He was skilled in various music genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. Belafonte also appeared in films such as Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957), and Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).  Belafonte had a mentor in the actor, singer, and activist Paul Robeson, and he was a trusted confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

He was an outspoken critic of the policies of George W. Bush and Donald Trump’s administrations. Belafonte served as the celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Harry Belafonte Bio

NAME Harry Belafonte
AGE 96 years
DATE OF BIRTH March 1, 1927
BORN COUNTRY Manhattan, New York, U.S.
OCCUPATIONS Singer, actor, activist
SPOUSES Marguerite Byrd

​(m. 1948; div. 1957)​

Julie Robinson

​(m. 1957; div. 2004)​

Pamela Frank

​(m. 2008⁠–⁠2023)


Harry Belafonte Daughters

In 1948, Byrd and Belafonte got married and had two daughters named Adrienne and Shari. However, reports suggest that the couple separated while Byrd was pregnant with Shari.

Adrienne, the elder daughter, pursued a career in counseling after completing her studies at West Virginia State University and has been running her own practice for over 25 years.

Shari, the younger daughter, decided to become an actress and model and has appeared in various productions such as If You Could See What I Hear, Murder by Numbers, ABC’s Hotel, General Hospital, and Teacher of the Year. She has been married twice and is currently married to Sam Behrens, her co-star in General Hospital.

Belafonte’s third child and only son, David, was born to his second wife Julie Robinson, whom he married in 1957. The couple had two children, David and Gina, with Gina being the youngest daughter among Belafonte’s children.

Like her sister Shari, Gina is also an actress, having acted in TV shows such as Friends and The Angry Beavers. 

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