The Early Life and Career of Harry Belafonte: A Comprehensive Biography :

A Look at Harry Belafonte’s Family Life and Personal Relationships

Get an exclusive look into the personal relationships of Harry Belafonte’s, from his family life to his romantic affairs. Discover the heartbreaks and triumphs of the legendary singer.


Harry Belafonte is an American singer, actor, and social activist who has had a significant impact on American culture. Despite his fame and public life, Belafonte has managed to keep his personal life relatively private. In this article, we will take a closer look at Harry Belafonte’s family life and personal relationships.

Early Life and Family Background :

Born: 1 March 1927, Harlem, New York, United States
Died: 25 April 2023, Manhattan, New York, United States
Spouse: Pamela Frank (m. 2008), Julie Robinson (m. 1957–2008), Marguerite Belafonte (m. 1948–1957)
Children: Shari Belafonte, David Belafonte, Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, Gina Belafonte
Parents: Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., Melvine Bellanfanti
Height: 1.82 m

Harry Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York. His parents, Melvine and Harold Belafonte Sr. were Jamaican immigrants. Belafonte grew up in poverty and faced racial discrimination, which would later influence his activism.

Marriages and Children :

Belafonte has been married three times. In 1948, he married Marguerite Byrd, and they had two daughters together, Adrienne and Shari. They divorced in 1957. Belafonte then married Julie Robinson in 1957, and they had two children, David and Gina. They divorced in 2008 after being married for over 50 years. Belafonte’s third marriage was to photographer Pamela Frank in 2008.

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Controversies Surrounding Belafonte’s Marriages :

Belafonte’s second marriage to Julie Robinson was not without controversy. Robinson was white, and at the time, interracial marriages were still frowned upon in many parts of the United States. Their marriage faced backlash from both the black and white communities, and Belafonte was criticized for his decision.

Belafonte’s third marriage to Pamela Frank was also controversial due to the 40-year age gap between them. Some people questioned Frank’s motives for marrying Belafonte and whether she was after his money.

Relationship with Martin Luther King Jr. :

Belafonte was a close friend and confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement. Belafonte helped finance the movement and organized the 1963 March on Washington. He also helped bail King out of jail multiple times.

Relationship with Sidney Poitier :

Belafonte and Sidney Poitier had a close friendship that lasted for over 60 years. The two men met in the 1950s when they were both struggling actors in New York City. They went on to collaborate on several projects, including the 1957 film “Island in the Sun.”

Relationship with Robert Kennedy :

Belafonte had a close relationship with Robert Kennedy, who was the Attorney General under his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Belafonte and Robert Kennedy worked together on several civil rights initiatives, including the Freedom Riders and the Mississippi Voter Registration Project.

Belafonte’s Children’s Careers :

Belafonte’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps in different ways. His daughter Shari Belafonte is an actress, singer, and model. His son David Belafonte is an actor and producer. His daughter Gina Belafonte is a producer and social activist.

Belafonte’s Philanthropic Work :

Belafonte has been involved in philanthropy throughout his career. He has worked with organizations such as UNICEF and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. He also founded the Gathering for Justice, an organization that focuses on social justice issues.

Belafonte’s Legacy :

Belafonte’s legacy is one of activism and cultural impact. He was the first black man to win an Emmy Award and was instrumental in bringing calypso music to the mainstream. He also played a significant role in the civil rights movement, using his platform to bring attention to issues of racial injustice.

Conclusion :

Harry Belafonte’s family life and personal relationships provide a glimpse into the private life of a public figure who has made a significant impact on American culture. Despite facing controversy and backlash, Belafonte has maintained close friendships with influential figures and has raised a family who has pursued their own passions in the entertainment industry and social activism.

Belafonte’s philanthropic work and activism have left a lasting impact on society, and his contributions to the civil rights movement and the music industry have paved the way for future generations. Belafonte’s legacy is one that has been shaped by his personal relationships, and his dedication to social justice and equality will continue to inspire others for years to come.

How did Harry Belafonte change the world?

Harry Belafonte, a prominent American singer, actor, and social activist, has made significant contributions to the civil rights movement and the entertainment industry. Belafonte’s impact on the world is evident through his music, philanthropic work, and advocacy for social justice and equality.

Belafonte’s music, which blends traditional folk songs with calypso rhythms, became popular in the 1950s and 1960s and played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of America. His music not only entertained audiences but also raised awareness about social and political issues of the time. Belafonte’s most famous song, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” has become an iconic cultural reference, and his albums continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the world.

In addition to his music, Belafonte has dedicated his life to philanthropy and activism. Belafonte was a close friend and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was an active participant in the civil rights movement. He used his platform and influence to support the movement, and he helped to fundraise for organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Belafonte’s advocacy for social justice and equality did not stop at the civil rights movement. He has also been an advocate for other marginalized communities, including the LGBTQ+ community and those affected by HIV/AIDS. He founded the George Washington Carver Foundation, which provides scholarships to black students, and he has also been involved in humanitarian efforts in Africa.

Belafonte’s impact on the world is not limited to his philanthropic work and activism. His influence can also be seen in the entertainment industry, where he has paved the way for future generations of artists of color. Belafonte was the first African American to win an Emmy award, and he was also the first to produce a TV special featuring a predominantly black cast. His contributions to the industry have helped to break down barriers and create more opportunities for people of color.

How much is Harry Belafonte’s net worth?

As of 2021, Harry Belafonte’s net worth is estimated to be $28 million. However, it is important to note that this is just an estimate, and his actual net worth may be higher or lower. Belafonte’s net worth is derived from his successful career as a musician, actor, and activist, as well as his philanthropic work and various business ventures. Despite his financial success, Belafonte has always remained dedicated to his activism and philanthropy, using his resources and influence to make a positive impact on the world.

What is Harry Belafonte’s ethnicity?

Harry Belafonte is of mixed ethnicity. His mother was Jamaican and his father was of mixed African and European descent. Belafonte has spoken about his diverse heritage and has used his platform as a prominent Black artist to advocate for civil rights and racial equality.

FAQs :

What is Harry Belafonte’s most famous song?

Harry Belafonte’s most famous song is “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).”

Did Harry Belafonte face any backlash for his philanthropic work?

No, Harry Belafonte did not face any significant backlash for his philanthropic work.

How many children does Harry Belafonte have?

Harry Belafonte has four children.

Was Harry Belafonte involved in any political campaigns?

Yes, Harry Belafonte was involved in political campaigns throughout his career and supported candidates who aligned with his values.