TCM Announces Harry Belafonte Programming Tribute
(UPDATE JULY 21, 2023 — TCM’s Harry Belafonte tribute, originally scheduled for July, has been postponed to a later date. At this time, it is looking like the tribute will be moved to November, a TCM rep has told us.)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced that in July, it will be celebrating the life and career of singer, actor, producer and activist Harry Belafonte, who passed away April 25 at the age of 96, with a special programming tribute.
Born in New York City on March 1, 1927, as Harold George Bellanfanti Jr., Belafonte began his success as a popular artist with the movie musical Carmen Jones (1954) and his hit 1956 album Calypso. Throughout his decades-long career, he earned two Grammy Awards, a Tony and an Emmy, and received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2014.
As important a force as Belafonte was in our country’s artistic history, he was at least as prominent as a voice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he continued his outspoken and passionate political and humanitarian activism throughout his life.
TCM’s on-air tribute to Belafonte’s big-screen acting work will include a double feature of his movies, as well as a night of films introduced by his daughter, Shari Belafonte, and a standalone airing of one of his classics. See the schedule below, and check back for any updates that may be announced over the next few months.
TCM Guest Programmer Shari Belafonte — Monday, July 10
8pm ET: Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) — Shari Belafonte introduces this film led by her father, a film noir directed by Robert Wise in which desperate losers plan a bank robbery with unexpected results. Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters, Ed Begley and Gloria Grahame costar.
Bright Road (1953) — Sunday, July 16 (Time TBA)
Belafonte’s film Bright Road will be featured during TCM’s Disability in the Movies spotlight in July. The drama marked the actor’s first feature film appearance, and it is where he debuted his song “Suzanne (Every Night When the Sun Goes Down).” Also displaying her singing talents a little here is star Dorothy Dandridge; she and Belafonte would reteam the following year in Carmen Jones.
TCM Remembers Harry Belafonte (Originally scheduled for July 22, postponed to a later date, possibly November)
Carmen Jones (1954) — Directed by Otto Preminger, this adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein II‘s 1943 stage musical of the same name, set to the music of Georges Bizet’s classic opera Carmen, finds Dandridge, Belafonte and Pearl Bailey leading an all-Black cast, and earned Dandridge a Best Actress Oscar nomination in the title role, making her the first African American to be nominated in this category.
The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) — In this Hugo Award-nominated postapocalyptic/sci-fi drama, one woman (Inger Stevens) and two men (Belafonte and Mel Ferrer) are the only people left alive after a nuclear disaster.