Harry Belafonte:
A life lived deeply

By NABJ Black News & Views  

Harlem-born Harry Belafonte first claimed the public spotlight with his talent for singing calypso, but he later became a force on the big screen, and even later, on the global stage as a committed activist. Belafonte – known for his polished good looks, husky voice and generosity – died at home in New York City on Tuesday. He was 96. The cause was congestive heart failure. Here are images from Belafonte’s remarkable life.

Harry Belafonte with Ed Sullivan in New York on May 24, 1955. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte is shown Oct. 2,1956, during a performance at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Photo credit: Al Lambert, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte is congratulated by Merle Oberon, left, Joan Collins, and James Mason after his opening in the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 1957. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte in February 1957. Photo credit: The Associated Press
In this Aug. 6, 1957, file photo, Harry Belafonte, left, and singer Nat "King" Cole appear on the “The Nat ‘King’ Cole Show” in Los Angeles. Photo credit: David F. Smith
Harry Belafonte and his wife, Julie Robinson, chat with Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the late President Franklin Roosevelt, in the U.S. Pavilion at the World's Fair in Brussels, Sept. 4, 1958. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte speaks to a crowd at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during a youth march for integration, Oct. 25, 1958. At left, seated, is baseball player Jackie Robinson who also spoke. Photo credit: Charles Gorry, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte sings a few bars of "Matilda," bringing laughter to members of the Georgian State Dance Company of Russia at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, March 20, 1960. Belafonte was a backstage visitor. Photo credit: Marty Lederhandler, The Associated Press
In this May 17, 1960, file photo, Harry Belafonte speaks during an equal rights rally in New York. Photo credit: Jacob Harris, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte, left holds his son, David, while his wife Julie holds baby daughter, Gina, as they pose for a family photo at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Feb. 28, 1962. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte, second from right, and Sidney Poitier, right, are shown in court in New York after they volunteered to post bail for a group of civil rights protesters arrested for staging a sit-in at the office of the South African consul general in New York, March 21, 1966. Left to right: William Hall, Cleveland Sellers, Willie Ricks, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee executive secretary James Foreman and SNCC chairman John Lewis. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Tore Tallroth, right, the consul-general for Sweden in New York City, presents a $100,000 check to Dr. Martin Luther King, left, at Sweden House in New York, July 5, 1966. Singer-actor Harry Belafonte stands at center. The money is to be used for continuing struggle for civil rights in the United States. Photo credit: Jacob Harris, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte sits with Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., during King's funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 9, 1968. Photo credit: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte listens to Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, in Memphis, Tenn., on April 8, 1968. Belafonte died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his New York home. He was 96. Photo credit: Gene Herrick, The Associated Press
Coretta King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attends a meeting May 18, 1968 in Hollywood, Calif., to enlist support from Hollywood figures for the campaign to help poor people. Harry Belafonte, chairman of the Hollywood meeting, greets Mrs. King at right. (AP Photo/Harold Matosian)
Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier sport colorful hats on their arrival in London from New York, March 30, 1972. Poitier was in London to make a new movie while Belafonte's latest film, "The Angel Levine," had just opened in the U.K. Photo credit: The Associated Press/Press Association
Harry Belafonte poses with his cat in New York City on Oct. 6, 1981. Photo credit: M. Reichenthal, The Associated Press
Former President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with Harry Belafonte, UNICEF goodwill ambassador, at the launching of the "America Celebrates Children" campaign, Sept. 11, 1987, in New York. Photo credit: Mary Lederhandler, The Associated Press
In this March 5, 1988, file photo, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte, right, applauds a speech given by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Harare, Zimbabwe, where Belafonte performed at a benefit concert for Children on the Frontline in Africa. Photo credit: Sarah Jane Poole, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte with Pope John Paul II during a private audience in the Vatican, Nov. 16, 1988. Belafonte was in Italy for a series of concerts. Photo credit: Arturo Mari, The Associated Press
First Lady Barbara Bush, standing in for President Bush, presents the Kennedy Center Honors to, from left, actress Mary Martin, dancer Alexandra Danilova, actor Harry Belafonte, actress Claudette Colbert and composer William Schuman during a White House East Room ceremony in Washington, Dec. 3, 1989. Photo credit: The Associated Pres
Harry Belafonte, right, is joined by Andrew Young and Marlo Thomas on Wednesday, June 14, 1990, in New York. Thomas hosted a fundraiser to support Young's gubernatorial campaign. Photo credit: Aubrey Reuben, The Associated Press
Actress Cicely Tyson joins singer Harry Belafonte backstage after his sell-out concert at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, May 9, 1991. Belafonte, whose 1955 "Calypso" album was the first to sell more than 1 million copies, had not had a major public performance in New York in 30 years. His performance benefited the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Photo credit: Osamu Honda, The Associated Press
Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, center, and entertainer Harry Belafonte, right, applaud former New York Mayor David Dinkins after his arrival at a tribute to Morrison at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, April 5, 1994. Photo credit: Kathy Willens, The Associated Press
President Bill Clinton speaks with Harry Belafonte after presenting him with a 1994 National Medal of Arts at the White House, Oct. 14, 1994. Photo credit: Joe Marquette, The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte poses for a portrait in the Fender Music Lodge during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, in Park City, Utah. Photo credit: Victoria Will: The Associated Press
Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson and Sidney Poitier in the audience at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Chris Pizzello, The Associated Press
Sidney Poitier, left, presents the Spingarn award to Harry Belafonte at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. Photo credit: Matt Sayles, Invision/The Associated Press
Actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte, left, the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, is joined onstage by actor Sidney Poitier during Belafonte's acceptance speech at the 2014 Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/The Associated Press
Then-Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is joined on stage by Harry Belafonte as he speaks at a campaign event at the Apollo Theatre, Saturday, April 9, 2016, in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. Photo credit: Mary Altaffer, The Associated Press