Posts tagged "Geoffrey Holder"
Dancer Scoogie Brown at Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade’s wedding reception in Westport, Connecticut on June 26, 1955. Ms. Brown was a dancer from Trinidad and Tobago who performed with Mr. Holder and his Trinidad Dance Group. She would gain even more notoriety during the “calypso craze” in the 1950s with her dance partner, Leo Ryers, who was also a member of Mr. Holder’s troupe. Photo: Saul Mauriber, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Ms. Brown also has a bit part in the 1956 film, “Carib Gold” which also starred Mr. Holder, Cicely Tyson, Diana Sands and the great Ethel Waters. The film is linked in the comment section.
Josephine Baker getting a little kiss from Geoffrey Holder in 1964. I’m guessing this is probably backstage at “Josephine Baker And Her Company,” her musical revue that appreared briefly on Broadway that year. Both Mr. Holder and his wife Carmen de Lavallade performed in the show with Ms. Baker and, in the video clip linked in the comment section, Mr. Holder discusses, with his signature verve, what a delight it was for he and Ms. de Lavallade to work with Ms. Baker. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives.
There are versatile artists, and then there is Geoffrey Holder. Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in 1930, Mr. Holder 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 his wife of 57 years, the dancer Carmen de Lavallade.
In 1975, Mr. Holder won 2 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. Mr. Holder is still painting and creating art today and, the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago currently has an exhibition featuring Mr. Holder and Ms. de Lavallade. In this picture, Mr. Holder is sitting in front of one of his painting, sometime in the 1960s. Photo: Bradley Smith/Corbis.