The world of entertainment and civil rights activism has lost a true icon with the passing of Harry Belafonte. The singer, actor, and activist passed away at the age of 96 at his New York home on Tuesday due to heart failure. His wife was by his side when he passed away, according to his spokesperson.
Belafonte was a beloved American star who made a name for himself not just as an entertainer, but also as a civil rights activist. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Tony award. Belafonte was also known for his humanitarian work and political activism, which included marching alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and using his platform to bring attention to various social issues.
In the UK, Belafonte is best remembered for his track “Mary’s Boy Child,” which became the Official Christmas Number 1 in 1957. The song spent a total of seven weeks at Number 1, and it remains one of the best-selling singles in Official Charts history. Interestingly, “Mary’s Boy Child” has been a Christmas Number 1 twice for totally different artists. In addition to Belafonte’s 1957 version, Boney M also took a one-horse open sleigh all the way to Number 1 with a mashup of “Mary’s Boy Child” and “Oh My Lord” in 1978.