Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr. (born March 1, 1927) is a singer, songwriter, actor, social activist, and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Governors Awards honoree. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the King of Calypso for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million selling album by a single artist.
Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing The Banana Boat Song, with its signature lyric Day-O. He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger’s hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), 1957’s Island in the Sun, and Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).
Harry Belafonte was both producer and star of this hard-edged film noir crime drama. Dave Burke (Ed Begley, Sr.) is an ex-cop who has been kicked off the force for refusing to inform on his colleagues to the State Crime Committee. Short on money, the former policeman jumps to the other side of the law and plans to knock over a bank in upstate New York. He’ll need help, so Burke brings in two other men to assist him — Johnny Ingram (Belafonte), a jazz musician with an addiction to gambling that’s put him deep in debt to gangster Bacco (Will Kuluva), and Earl Slater (Robert Ryan), a disturbed war veteran who hasn’t been able to find work after serving time for manslaughter. While their common greed and desperation has brought these men together, their differences threaten to tear them apart, especially when Slater’s fear and hatred of black men rises to the surface. In addition to Belafonte, Ryan, Kuluva, Begley, the film also starred Richard Bright, Lew Gallo, Carmen de Lavallade, Diana Sands and Cicely Tyson.
Odds Against Tomorrow
Harry Belafonte in Dis Flower from Carmen Jones with Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein set to the original Bizet’s Carmen score. LaVerne Hutcherson performed the actual vocals for the film directed by Otto Preminger.
Dis Flower from Carmen Jones
Island In The Sun