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Geoffrey Holder

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Information about Geoffrey Holder

Profile image of Geoffrey Holder

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer
Film Actor
Stage Director
Painter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Orange, Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Haiti, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
We're all born mad; some of us remain so.

Birthplace

Born:
8/20/1930
Birth Location:
Port of Spain,

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer
Film Actor
Stage Director
Painter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Orange, Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Haiti, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
We're all born mad; some of us remain so.

Birthplace

Born:
8/20/1930
Birth Location:
Port of Spain
See how Geoffrey Holder is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Artist, dancer, and choreographer, Geoffrey Holder, was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on August 20, 1930. While in Port-of-Spain, Holder attended Queens Royal College, but received much of his education in dancing and painting from the Holder Dance Company, his older brother Boscoe's dance troupe.

Holder premiered in his brother's dance company at the age of seven, and by 1947, he was in charge of the troupe. After being seen by dancer Agnes de Mille in 1952, Holder was invited to New York to audition; to finance the trip for himself and his troupe, he sold twenty of his paintings. After failing to receive a sponsorship to tour and perform, Holder began teaching at the Katherine Dunham School of Cultural Arts. In 1954, Holder made his first Broadway performance as Samedi in House of Flowers. For the next two years, Holder appeared as a principal dancer on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and continued to work with his own troupe through 1960. Holder also continued to paint, and in 1957 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship; that same year brought his first film role, All Night Long, a modern retelling of Othello. Roles continued to come in, with Holder playing Baron Samedi in the James Bond film Live and Let Die and Punjab in Annie. In more recent years, Holder appeared in the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang.

Not limited to his acting and painting, Holder also directed; his production of The Wiz, an all-black retelling of The Wizard of Oz, earned him Tony Awards for best director and best costume design. Holder also wrote Black Gods, Green Islands, an illustrated collection of Caribbean folklore, and Geoffrey Holder's Caribbean Cookbook. Holder and his wife, dancer Carmen DeLavallade, met and married while Holder was performing in House of Flowers in 1955; the couple lived and worked in New York City.

Holder passed away on October 5, 2014.

See how Geoffrey Holder is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geoffrey Holder interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder relates how his father and mother met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder describes his parents and siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder shares childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder illustrates the importance of arts to a child's learning process
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geoffrey Holder recounts his high school experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geoffrey Holder remembers how he started painting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his first dance experience
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder details the differences in colonial legacy in the Caribbean
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder explains the crucial influence of folklore on art
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder recounts taking over his brother's dance company
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder relates how he broke into the New York theater scene
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder illustrates the value of acquiring knowledge
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder remembers his production of 'The Wiz'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his Broadway production of 'The Wiz'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder explains the role of the costume designer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder recounts how he lost his stammer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder reflects on his singing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder shares his philosophy on combatting fear
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder expounds on the significance of art and cultural expression
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder discusses the value of learning black history before slavery
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder remembers inspirational performers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder shares insights on parenting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder discusses his recent projects
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder discusses his TV and film career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder considers his legacy