Harry Belafonte Dies: Singer, Actor & Activist Was 96

Harry Belafonte, ca. late 1950s. ph:
TV Guide/Courtesy Everett Collection
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Harry Belafonte, the three-time Grammy-winning Caribbean-American pop star and Carmen Jones actor, has died. He was 96.

According to the New York Times, Belafonte passed away Tuesday, April 25, at his home in Manhattan. The singer’s longtime spokesperson, Ken Sunshine, confirmed the cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Born on March 1, 1927, in New York City, Belafonte started his music career in the 1940s, performing as a club singer in NYC to pay for acting classes. He helped ignite the craze for Caribbean music with his breakthrough 1956 album Calypso, which featured the hit records “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell” and spent 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart. He went on to release five more Top 5 albums.