TCM Announces Harry Belafonte Programming Tribute

a black-and-white still from the 1953 drama
Courtesy Everett Collection
Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge in Bright Road (1953), one of the films airing during TCM's July programming tribute to Belafonte

(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.

a black-and-white still from the 1959 film noir "Odds Against Tomorrow." On the photo's left is star Robert Ryan, seated at what is perhaps a diner table. He is in profile, with his right side facing us. He appears intense and angry, and we see that his right hand is clutching the edge of the table, while is left hand is reached out across the table and grasping the shirt of star Harry Belafonte, sitting on the other side of the table. Belafonte, wearing a dark sport coat with his left side in profile to use, also looks intense and angry as he stares across at Ryan, with his left hand clutching Ryan's left wrist that is grabbing his shirt.

Belafonte and Robert Ryan in the 1959 film noir Odds Against Tomorrow, which will be airing during TCM’s programming tribute to Belafonte (Courtesy Everett Collection)

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.

 a black-and-white still from the 1959 postapocalyptic sci-fi drama "The World, the Flesh and the Devil." Star Harry Belafonte is on the right of the photo, wearing a light sport coat and white dress shirt, and looking very concerned at something (unseen to us) ahead of him and toward his right. Directly to his right, parallel to him, is some sort of computer or machine with what appears to be a speaker on it. Affixed to the front of that is an old-fashioned wall clock, whose hands are indicating it is just a little before 3:30.

Belafonte in The World, the Flesh and the Devil (Courtesy Everett Collection)

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.