||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (November 2014)|
Holder at the Big Apple Con, November 15, 2008.
|Born||Geoffrey Richard Holder
August 20, 1930
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
|Died||October 5, 2014
New York, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Alma mater||Queen's Royal College|
|Occupation||Actor, choreographer, director, costume designer, dancer, painter, vocalist|
|Height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Spouse(s)||Carmen de Lavallade (1955–2014; his death)|
|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
Geoffrey Lamont Holder (August 20, 1930 – October 5, 2014) was a Trinidadian-American actor, choreographer, dancer, painter, singer, and Tony Award-winning stage director and costume designer. He was known for his height (6 ft 6 in), "hearty laugh" and heavily accented bass voice.
One of four children, of parents who had emigrated to the United States from Trinidad, Holder attended Tranquillity School and then secondary school at Queen's Royal College in Port-of-Spain. At the age of seven, he made his debut in the dance company of his elder brother Boscoe Holder, from whom he had been receiving lessons in dancing and painting.
Holder was a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City from 1955 to 1956. He made his Broadway debut in House of Flowers, a musical by Harold Arlen (music and lyrics) and Truman Capote (lyrics and book). He also starred in an all-black production of Waiting for Godot in 1957.
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. In 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; He contributed to the film's choreography.
In addition to his movie appearances, Holder became a spokesman for the 1970s and 1980s 7 Up soft drink "uncola" and 1980s "crisp and clean, and no caffeine" and "never had it, never will" advertising campaigns.
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 won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design. The show ran for 1672 performances.
As a choreographer, Holder 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 part of the Dance Theater of Harlem repertory.
In the 1982 film Annie, Holder played the role of Punjab. He was in the 1992 film Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. 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 was a prolific painter (patrons of his art included Lena Horne and William F. Buckley, Jr.), ardent art collector, book author and music composer. As a painter, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship in fine arts in 1956. A book of his photography, Adam, was published by Viking Press in 1986.
In 1955, Holder married dancer Carmen de Lavallade, whom he met when both were in the cast of the musical House of Flowers. They lived in New York City and had one son, Léo. They were the subject of a 2004 film, Carmen & Geoffrey. His elder brother Boscoe Holder was a renowned dancer, choreographer and artist. His nephew is Christian Holder (Boscoe's son), who has also won acclaim as a dancer, choreographer and entertainer.
Geoffrey Holder died in Manhattan from complications from pneumonia on October 5, 2014. His immediate survivors were his wife, Carmen, and their son Léo, who subsequently composed and shared a letter about his fathers last days.
- 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 ousical, 1978 – direction, choreography, costume design, playbill cover illustration
- The Wiz, revival, 1984 – direction, costume design
- The Boys' Choir of Harlem and Friends, staged concert, 1993 – staging
|1956||Carib Gold||Voo Doo Dancer||Film debut|
|1962||All Night Long|
|1967||Doctor Dolittle||Willie Shakespeare|
|1968||Krakatoa, East of Java||sailor|
|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||Hasards ou coïncidences||Gerry|
|2005||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Narrator||Voice|
|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||Choreographed the Season 5 opening credits.|
|1990||The 62nd Annual Academy Awards||performing|
|1997||Bear in the Big Blue House||Ray||Voice|
|2002–2-03||Cyberchase||Master Pi (Voice)||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)|
- Zita Allen. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, cited By PBS "Great Performances – Biography, Geoffrey Holder". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Lucy E. Cross. "Geoffrey Holder". MasterworksBroadway. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- BBC profile of Geoffrey Holder; accessed October 13, 2014.
- Dunning, Jennifer; McDonald, William (October 6, 2014). "Geoffrey Holder, Dancer, Choreographer and Man of Flair, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
- Stephen Holden (March 12, 2009). "Creatively Connected Through Dance and Life". New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Oxford African American Studies Center "Choreographers". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "Geoffrey Holder, National Visionary". VisionaryProject. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Breeanna Hare, "Geoffrey Holder, famed dancer, 7Up pitchman, dies", CNN.com, October 6, 2014.
- "Geoffrey Holder, Bond villain and dancer, dies aged 84", BBC.co.uk, October 6, 2014; accessed October 8, 2014.
- TMZ "That 7 Up Uncola Guy: 'Memba Him?!". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Suzy Byrne, "James Bond Villain and 'Annie' Costar Geoffrey Holder Dies at 84", Yahoo! Movies, October 6, 2014; accessed October 8, 2014.
- Geoffrey Holder at the Internet Broadway Database
- Yolanda Sangweni, "Legendary Dancer and Actor Geoffrey Holder Passes Away", Essence, October 6, 2014.
- Kina Poon. "Geoffrey Holder's Royal Vision". Dance Magazine. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Anna Kisselgoff (January 13, 1982). "Harlem Dance Theatre Presents Firebird". New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "Dance Consortium". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Geoffrey Holder at the Internet Movie Database
- Evelyn Diaz, "Tony Award-Winning Director, Dancer Geoffrey Holder Dies at 84", BET.com, October 6, 2014.
- DanceConsortium "Geoffrey Holder". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "Geoffrey Holder Dead: Bond Villain Baron Samedi Dies", Huffington Post, October 6, 2014; accessed October 8, 2014.
- Geoffrey Holder. Amazon.com "Adam". Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Chang, Lia (October 7, 2014). "Geoffrey Holder, Artist, Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Two-Time Tony Award-winning Director and Costume Designer for The Wiz, Dies at 84; Son Pens Intimate Account of Last Days". Backstage Pass with Lia Chang.
- 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
- Leo Holder, "'This Impromptu Dance': Geoffrey Holder's Son Tells One More Story", NPR, October 29, 2014.