I am so saddened by the loss of the great Geoffrey Holder who died on Sunday at the age of 84. Please read the tribute/announcement by Leo Holder. Mr. Holder was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on August 1, 1930 and danced with his brother Boscoe’s dance troupe as a child. He arrived in New York in 1952 at the invitation of the legendary choreographer, Agnes de Mille and, to pay his fare, he sold 20 of his paintings. He would go on to win a Guggenheim Fellowship for painting in 1957. A few years before, he was a principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and appeared on Broadway in Truman Capote’s “House of Flowers,” where he would meet Carmen de Lavallade, his wife of 59 years.
In 1975, Mr. Holder won two Tony Awards in the same evening for directing and choreographing the Broadway musical, “The Wiz.” He is best known to most for his film and commercial roles: as Baron Samedi in the 1973 James Bond film, “Live and Let Die” and of course, as the “Un-cola Man” in the ubiquitous 1970s 7-Up commercials and the 1992 film “Boomerang.” In this picture, Mr. Holder is sitting in front of one of his paintings, sometime in the 1960s. Photo: Bradley Smith/Corbis.