Holder at the Big Apple Con
15 November 2008.
|Born||Geoffrey Richard Holder
1 August 1930
Port of Spain, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
|Alma mater||Queen's Royal College|
|Occupation||Actor, choreographer, director, costume designer, dancer, painter, vocalist, voice artist|
|Years active||1957 – present|
|Spouse(s)||Carmen De Lavallade (1955–present)|
|Family||Boscoe Holder (brother)|
|Awards||Outstanding Costume Design
1975 The Wiz
Best Direction of a Musical
1975 The Wiz
Best Costume Design
1975 The Wiz
One of four children, Holder attended Tranquillity School and then secondary school at Queen's Royal College in Port-of-Spain. At the age of seven, he began dancing in the company of his brother, Boscoe Holder.
Holder is a Tony Award-winning stage director and costume designer.
In 1952, the choreographer Agnes de Mille saw Holder dance on Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She invited him to New York; he would teach at the Katherine Dunham School of Dance for two years. He was a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York from 1955 to 1956.
In 1955, Holder married dancer Carmen De Lavallade, whom he met when both were in the cast of House of Flowers, a musical by Harold Arlen (music and lyrics) and Truman Capote (lyrics and book). They were the subject of a 2004 film, Carmen & Geoffrey. They live in New York City and have one son, Leo Anthony Lamont. Holder's brother was the London-based artist Boscoe Holder.
Holder began his movie career in the 1962 British film All Night Long, a modern remake of Shakespeare's Othello. He followed that with Doctor Dolittle (1967) as Willie Shakespeare, leader of the natives of Sea-Star Island. This was a trying experience for Holder, as he had to contend with casual racism from Rex Harrison's then-wife, Rachel Roberts, and his entourage. In the 1972, he was cast as the Sorcerer in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*. The following year he was a henchman – Baron Samedi – in the Bond movie Live and Let Die; Holder also contributed to the film's choreography. In addition to his movie appearances, Holder became a spokesman for the 1970s 7 Up soft drink "uncola" advertising campaign.
In 1975 Holder won two Tony Awards for direction and costume design of The Wiz, the all-black musical version of The Wizard of Oz. Holder was the first black man to be nominated in either category. He also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design. The show ran for 1672 performances over a four-year period; it was revived in 1984.
As a choreographer, Holder has created dance pieces for many companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, for which he provided choreography, music and costumes for Prodigal Prince (1967), and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, for which he provided choreography, music and costumes for Dougla (1974) and designed costumes for Firebird (1982). In 1978, Holder directed and choreographed the Broadway musical Timbuktu! Holder's 1957 piece "Bele" is also part of the Dance Theater of Harlem repertory.
In the 1982 film version of the musical Annie, Holder played the role of Punjab. He was also the voice of Ray in Bear in the Big Blue House and provided narration for Tim Burton's version of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He reprised his role as the 7 Up Spokesman in the 2011 season finale of The Celebrity Apprentice, where he appeared as himself in a commercial for "7 Up Retro" for Marlee Matlin's team.
Holder is also a prolific painter, ardent art collector, book author and music composer. As a painter, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. A book of his photography, Adam, was published by Viking in 1986.
- Waiting for Godot – Revival (all black cast), 1957 – Performer
- House of Flowers, Original Musical, 1954 – Banda dance choreography, performer
- Josephine Baker – Musical Review, 1954 – Performer
- The Wiz – Original Musical, 1975 – Direction, Costume Design (Tony Award for Best Costume Design and Best Direction of a Musical, 1975)
- Timbuktu! – Original Musical, 1978 – Direction, Choreography, Costume Design, Playbill Cover Illustration
- The Wiz, 1984 Revival – Direction, Costume Design
- The Boys' Choir of Harlem and Friends, Staged Concert, 1993 – Staging
|1962||All Night Long||Film debut|
|1967||Doctor Dolittle||Willie Shakespeare|
|1972||Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask||The Sorcerer|
|1973||Live and Let Die||Baron Samedi||also choreography|
|1978||Doctor J. Kanye|
|1998||Hasard ou Coincidence||a Claude Lelouch movie|
|2005||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Narrator|
|2006||Joséphine Baker. Black Diva in a White Man's World|
|1967||Androcles and the Lion|
|1983||Alice in Wonderland||the Cheshire Cat|
|1985||John Grin's Christmas||Ghost of Christmas Future|
|1988||The Cosby Show||choreography|
|1990||The 62nd Annual Academy Awards||performing|
|1997||Bear in the Big Blue House||Ray||Voice|
|2002–2003||Cyberchase||Master Pi||Episode 118, "Problem Solving in Shangri-La"|
|Episode 209, "Double Trouble"|
|1994||Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller||Jean St. Mouchoir||One of only two live actors in the game (as opposed to voice only)|
- Lucy E. Cross. MasterworksBroadway "Geoffrey Holder". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Zita Allen. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Cited By PBS "Great Performances – Biography, Geoffrey Holder". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Stephen Holden. New York Times "Creatively Connected Through Dance and Life". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Oxford African American Studies Center "Choreographers". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- VisionaryProject "Geoffrey Holder, National Visionary". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Harris, Mark (2008). Pictures at a Revolution. Penguin Press. pp. 242–3.
- TMZ "That 7 Up Uncola Guy: 'Memba Him?!". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Kina Poon. Dance Magazine "Geoffrey Holders Royal Vision". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Anna Kisselgoff. New York Times "Ballet – Harlem Dance Theatre Presents Firebird". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- "Dance Consortium=Dougla". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- DanceConsortium "Geoffrey Holder". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Geoffrey Holder. Amazon.com "Adam". Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Holder, Geoffrey; Harshman Tom (1959). Black Gods, Green Islands. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-8371-2789-0.
- Holder, Geoffrey (1973). Geoffrey Holder's Caribbean Cookbook. New York: Viking Press. OCLC 2700931.
- Holder, Geoffrey (1986). Adam. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-81028-2.
- Holder, Geoffrey; University Art Museum. (1995). Geoffrey Holder: the painter. Albany, New York: State University of New York at Albany. ISBN 0-910763-13-5.
- Holder, Geoffrey; Falke, Stefan; Lovelace, Earl (2004). The Dancing spirits of Trinidad: Moko Jumbies. New York: Pointed Leaf Press. ISBN 0-9727661-3-8.
- "Geoffrey Holder: Visionary Videos: NVLP: African American History:". The National Visionary Leadership Project. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
- Geoffrey Holder's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
- Geoffrey Holder at the Internet Broadway Database
- Geoffrey Holder at the Internet Movie Database