Shari Belafonte

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Shari Belafonte
Shari Lynn Belafonte

(1954-09-22) September 22, 1954 (age 69)
New York City, U.S.[1]
  • Actress
  • model
  • singer
Years active1977–present
  • Robert Harper
    (m. 1977⁠–⁠1988)
  • (m. 1989)

Shari Lynn Belafonte[2] (born September 22, 1954)[3] is an American actress, model and singer. The daughter of the late singer and actor Harry Belafonte, she began her career as a fashion model before making her big screen debut appearing in the 1982 drama film If You Could See What I Hear. She is best known for her role as Julie Gillette in the ABC drama series Hotel from 1983 to 1988. She later went to star in the Canadian science fiction series Beyond Reality (1991–1993). Belafonte also released two studio albums in the 1980s, and acted on stage in later years.

Early life[edit]

Shari Belafonte is the second daughter of Marguerite (née Byrd), a psychologist, and Harry Belafonte, the world-famous singer, actor, and civil rights activist. Her parents separated when her mother was pregnant with her.[4] She attended Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC; Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts; and Buxton School in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and then Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts before transferring to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama.[5] Her paternal grandmother was born in Jamaica, the child of a Scottish Jamaican mother and an Afro-Jamaican father. Her paternal grandfather also was born in Jamaica, the child of a Black mother and Dutch-Jewish father of Sephardic Jewish descent. She has one older sister Adrienne and a half-brother and sister on her father's side.[6]



Belafonte began her career as a model, becoming a successful cover girl model and appearing in commercials for Calvin Klein jeans. She made her feature film debut in 1982 in the movies Time Walker and If You Could See What I Hear.[7] She then worked as a production assistant and assistant director in public television on the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles, where she became an assistant to the publicist at Hanna-Barbera productions. While getting her hands wet "behind the scenes", she also received a number of modeling and commercial assignments, and was known to have appeared on the covers of over 300 magazines as of 2015. Other feature films include Speed Zone, the made-for-television horror-comedy film The Midnight Hour, in which she also sang a song titled "Get Dead", and Fire, Ice and Dynamite.

The television producer Aaron Spelling chose Belafonte as a finalist for Julie Rogers on Charlie's Angels, a role written with her specifically in mind, but the part instead went to Tanya Roberts. In 1981 she was cast as a fashion model in a 2nd-season episode of Hart to Hart.

In 1984, Spelling did choose her for another pilot, this one for the action-adventure series Velvet alongside Leah Ayres, Mary Margaret Humes, and Sheree J. Wilson.[8] In the same year, Spelling signed Belafonte as Julie Gilette in the ABC drama series Hotel, in which she starred during the show's five-year run, which extended from 1983 to 1988. It was during this time that, Belafonte began her music career by signing a contract to record on the Metronome Records label, releasing two studio albums; these were The Eyes of Night in 1987 and Shari in 1989.


In 1990, Belafonte made her theatrical debut in Tamara, playing the title role in the long-running Los Angeles production. Shortly thereafter, she starred as Dr. Laura Wingate in the USA Network's drama series Beyond Reality, which ran for two seasons from 1991 to 1993. She co-starred in a number of made-for-television movies in 1990s, including French Silk (1994) starring Susan Lucci, The Heidi Chronicles (1995) starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Babylon 5: Thirdspace (1998) and Loving Evangeline (1999). In addition, she co-hosted the syndicated series Lifestyles with Robin Leach and Shari Belafonte (1994–95), an updated version of Leach's signature program, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. In 2006, she hosted a travel program called "Travels In Mexico And The Caribbean With Shari Belafonte" on NYC Media.

Belafonte's multi-faceted career also includes moderating and voiceovers. Belafonte provided the voice of Gerald's mother, Mrs. Johanssen, in four episodes of Hey Arnold!, Diana Cruz in an episode of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, and the undead Southern belle zombie Blanche in Gravedale High. She has producing credits for theater, public and network television, and feature films. In addition to her affiliation with numerous children's, animal, and environment causes, she has also become the international spokesman for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten celebrity endorsers, Shari has been the spokesman for numerous corporations including Bally's International Health and Fitness, Slim-Fast, Diet System 6, and Estroven.[9]

In 2000s, Belafonte made a number of limited screen appearances, guest starring in an episode of The District and Nip/Tuck. In December 2015, it was announced that Belafonte would take over the role of Mayor Janice Lomax from Saidah Arrika Ekulona on January 19, 2016, on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital.[10][11] She made her last appearance on December 20, 2017. In 2019, she began appearing in a recurring role as Julia in the Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show.[12][4] Later that year, she took the recurring role as Ebony Obsidian's character's mother in the BET comedy-drama series, Sistas.

Personal life[edit]

Belafonte has been married twice, first to Robert Harper (May 21, 1977 – 1988). She has been married to Sam Behrens since December 31, 1989.[5] Belafonte posed nude for Playboy in the magazine's September 2000 edition, and is herself an avid photographer.



Year Title Role Notes Ref
1982 If You Could See What I Hear Heather Johnson
Time Walker Linda Flores
1984 Overnight Sensation Daphne Short film
1989 Speed Zone Margaret
1990 Murder by Numbers Lisa Directed and written by Paul Leder.
Fire, Ice and Dynamite Serena
1992 The Player The Player Cameo
1997 Mars Doc Halliday Directed by Jon Hess.
2014 Teacher of the Year Robin Rivers
2015 Primrose Lane Dr. Hunt World Music & Independent Film Festival Award for Best Actress in Supporting Role
2017 Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk Flo
2018 Plastic Daydream Hazel Montgomery Directed by Kathy Kolla.
2018 Say Yes Dr. Bauman


Year Title Role Notes Ref
1979 The Big Hex of Little Lulu Janie A made-for-television film
1981 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Bank Teller Episode: "What're Girls Like You Doing in a Bank Like This?"
Hart to Hart Cleo Episode: "The Latest In High Fashion Murder"
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Maggie Episode: "Three on a Mismatch"
Diff'rent Strokes Monique Episode: "The Older Woman"
1983–1988 Hotel Julie Gillette Series regular, 115 episodes
Bambi Award (1985)
1983 Battle of the Network Stars ABC Team Episode: "Special #15"
Family Feud Herself Episode: "Battle of the Perfect 10s"
1984 The Love Boat Terry Cook Episode: "Love Is Blind/Baby Makers/Lady & The Maid/Luise Rainer"
Velvet Julie Rhodes A made-for-television film directed by Richard Lang.
Battle of the Network Stars Host Episode: "Special #16"
1985 Matt Houston Joanna Episode: "New Orleans Nightmare"
The Midnight Hour Melissa Cavender
1986 Kate's Secret Gail A made-for-television film directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman
1987 Square One TV Herself Episode: "Episode 107"
The Late Show Herself
  • Original Host was Joan Rivers.
  • Episode: "October 13, 1986"
1989 The Women of Brewster Place Cameo appearance
Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration Herself
Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin Kathy Grant 12th made-for-television film based on Perry Mason.
1990 Gravedale High Blanche
1991 The Jaleel White Special Herself
1991–1993 Beyond Reality Laura Wingate Main cast
1994 French Silk Martine
1994 Sonic the Hedgehog Lupe Wolf
1995 The Heidi Chronicles April Lambert A made-for-television film by Wendy Wasserstein adapted from her play of the same name.
1996–1997 Hey Arnold! Mrs. Johanssen (voice) Recurring seasons 1 and 2.
1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Diana Cruz (voice) Episode: "Other Space"
1998 Babylon 5: Thirdspace Elizabeth Trent
Loving Evangeline Ellen Beecham A made-for-television film
2000 The Octopus Show Narrator
2001 The District Esther Henderson Episode: "The Project"
2003 It's Christopher Lowell Herself Episode: "Do-Gooders"
2004 The Oprah Winfrey Show Herself
2008 Nip/Tuck Catherine Wicke Episode: "Lulu Grandiron"
2010 Miami Medical Kimberly Davis Episode: "Golden Hour"
2016–2017 General Hospital Mayor Janice Lomax Unknown episodes
2019 gen:LOCK Roberta Chase Episode: "The Pilot"
2019–present The Morning Show Julia Recurring role
2019–present Sistas Lisa Mott Recurring role
2020 9-1-1 Shirley Episode: "Seize the Day"
2023 Station 19 Gertrude Rose Episode: "We Build Then We Break"


  • Eyes Of Night (1987)
  • Shari (1989)


  1. ^ Bob McCann: Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television, 2009, p.39 [1]
  2. ^ Genia Fogelson: Harry Belafonte, 1991, p. 66 [2]
  3. ^ Harry Belafonte, Michael Schnayerson: My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race & Defiance, 2012, p. 151 [3]
  4. ^ a b Harry Belafonte He Married Politics and Pop Culture People Magazine February 21, 2022 Page 39 From intro by magazine staff, to article by Shari Belefonte
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Patricia (November 19, 1989). "SHARI BELAFONTE". Washington Post.
  6. ^ Keillor, Garrison (October 21, 2011). "The Radical Entertainment of Harry Belafonte (Published 2011)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  7. ^ "Shari Belafonte | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  8. ^ "Lawrence Journal-World - Поиск в архиве Google Новостей".
  9. ^ "Shari Belafonte Lends Her Charitable Passion to Oscar Viewing Party". Palm Springs Life. February 17, 2015.
  10. ^ SOD (December 15, 2015). "SHARI BELAFONTE IS GH'S NEW MAYOR". Soap Opera Digest. United States. American Media, Inc. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Fairman, Michael (December 15, 2015). "General Hospital Recasts The Role Of Mayor Lomax With Shari Belafonte!". On-Air On-Soaps. United States: Michael Fairman Soaps, Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Morning Show Cast & Character Guide". ScreenRant. November 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "French Silk". Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Lamb, Joyce (October 27, 2013). "Interview: Sandra Brown, author of 'Deadline'". USA Today. Retrieved December 15, 2015.

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