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Harry Belafonte Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 4:46 PM EST, Tue December 24, 2013

(CNN) -- Here is a look at the life of Harry Belafonte, civil rights activist and award winning singer and actor.

Personal:
Birth date: March 1, 1927

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Harold George Belafonte, Jr.

Father: Harold George

Mother: Melvine (Love) Belafonte

Marriages: Pamela (Frank) Belafonte (April 2008-present); Julie Robinson (March 8, 1957-unavailable publicly, divorced); Marguerite Byrd (June 18, 1948-February 28, 1957, divorced)

Children: with Julie Robinson: Gina Belafonte (September 8, 1961); David Belafonte (September 30, 1957); with Marguerite Byrd: Shari Belafonte (September 22, 1954); Adrienne Belafonte (1949)

Military service: U.S. Navy, 1943-1945

Other Facts:
Won three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award and a Tony Award.

His most famous recording is "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" from 1957.

His father was from Martinique and his mother was from Jamaica.

Attended classes at the Dramatic Workshop with Marlon Brando and Bea Arthur.

First artist to sell a million copies of an album - "Calypso" in 1956.

Timeline:
1946 - Has the lead role in "Days of Our Youth" at Harlem's American Negro Theater. His understudy is Sidney Poitier.

April 17, 1953 - His first feature film, "Bright Road," is released.

1954 - Wins a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor - Musical for "John Murray Anderson's Almanac."

1960 - Emmy winner for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program - "Revlon Revue," the first African-American to win an Emmy.

1960 - Grammy winner for Best Performance - Folk for "Swing Dat Hammer."

1961 - Grammy winner for Best Folk Recording for "Belafonte Folk Singers At Home And Abroad."

1965 - Grammy winner Best Folk Recording for "An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba," shared with Miriam Makeba.

1987-present - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

1989 - Receives the Kennedy Center Honors along with Claudette Colbert, Mary Martin, Alexandra Danilova, and William Schuman.

1994 - Receives the National Medal of the Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.

1996-1997 - Is successfully treated for prostate cancer.

October 15, 2002 - On Larry King Live, Belafonte compares Secretary of State Colin Powell to a plantation house slave for his role in the George W. Bush administration. "Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master."

January 8, 2006 - CNN reports that Belafonte called President George W. Bush the "greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world," while talking to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez live on the radio in Caracas, Venezuela.

May 15, 2010 - Along with Willie Mays and Billie Jean King, is honored with Major League Baseball's Beacon Award in "recognition for their lifetime efforts in the area of civil rights."

January 20, 2011 - "Sing Your Song," a documentary of Belafonte's musical career and civil rights activism, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.

October 2011 - New book "My Song: A Memoir" and new CD "Sing Your Song: The Music" are released.

October 10, 2012 - Half-brother Raymond Wright sues Belafonte for libel and invasion of privacy over his book, "My Song: A Memoir," in the Southern District Court of New York.

October 15, 2013 - Belafonte sues the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. to establish ownership of three documents, allegedly given to him by Martin Luther King, Jr., which he attempted to sell at an auction in 2008. It is said that Belafonte used to provide support for the children so King could pursue his activism.

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