Harry Belafonte, the legendary singer and actor, passed away on April 25th of congestive heart failure at his home in New York. The singer is credited with making Jamaican folk songs famous internationally, which also inspired other African-American artists to make a career in music.
Belafonte was also known for his civil rights activism and his humanitarian work. Apart from his professional work, the singer also made news for his personal life. He got married thrice in his life. Here is everything we know about Harry Belafonte’s spouses over the years.
Marguerite Belafonte was the first wife of the singer. The two met in 1944 in Virginia when Harry was serving in the US Navy. The couple got married in June 1948, and welcomed two daughters together: Adrienne and Shari Belafonte. However, they decided to separate while Marguerite was still pregnant with her second daughter in 1954.
Marguerite worked as an actress for a short time and appeared in the film Night of the Quarter Moon in 1959. However, she later decided to quit the entertainment world, citing that she ‘just found the show-biz world to be shallow, and false. And, more and more, that was his whole life.’
Talking about what caused trouble in her parents’ marriage, Adrienne revealed in an interview, “Mom had the drive and focus of many Black contemporaries. She came from a family that was striving to be in the upper echelon of Black society, which then moves you into the middle echelon of White society. For Dad, it was about changing all of society.”
Meanwhile, Shari revealed that her father was not an active part of her life following her parents’ separation. “Our courtship was one long argument over racial issues,” Marguerite had once said about her marriage. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 74.
Harry Belafonte got married to his second wife, Julie Robinson, in 1957. The duo first met during the filming of Carmen Jones in 1954. At the time, Robinson was in a relationship with Marlon Brando but soon fell for Harry. The two exchanged love letters, which were found by Marguerite.
The couple welcomed two children together: son David and daughter Gina. Harry and Julie stayed married for 45 years before parting ways in 2004. “I felt angry and trapped, but then I’d always felt that way. Trapped by my mother, by poverty … by the responsibility I felt for the global poor,” the singer had said of his second marriage.
Pamela Frank, the third wife of Harry Belafonte, stayed with him until his death. She was beside her husband when he breathed his last. The couple had gotten married in 2008 and appeared at several events together, including the NAACP Image Awards, and the opening night of Michael Moore on Broadway.
Frank, who is a photographer by profession, has two children from a previous marriage. She also accompanied her husband when he was awarded with the National Order of the Legion of Honour by the French government in 2021.
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