Geoffrey Holder

Active - 1957 - 2008  |   Born - Aug 1, 1930   |   Died - Oct 5, 2014   |   Genres - Action, Comedy, Children's/Family, Adventure, Fantasy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Towering, breathtakingly limber interpretive dancer Geoffrey Holder was born in Trinidad and educated at Queens Royal College. Holder's first professional dancing gig was in his brother Boscoe's travelling troupe. He toured the West Indies and Puerto Rico before making his New York stage debut in the 1954 Broadway musical House of Flowers. Heading his own troupe from 1956 onward, Holder appeared as both an ensemble dancer and as soloist and choreographer in "outside" productions. He made his dramatic bow in 1957 in the near-mime role of Lucky in Waiting for Godot. His subsequent stage work has earned him numerous awards, including two Tonys--one for direction, the other for costume design--for 1974's The Wiz. His film roles leaned towards the exotic, e.g. Baron Samedi in the 1973 Bond thriller Live and Let Die (1973) and Punjab in Annie (1981), and he provided the narration for Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. He is best known to TV fans for his series of mid-1970 Seven Up commercials, in which he elegantly and laughingly extoled the virtues of "Un-Cola Nuts." Outside of his theatrical and film accomplishments, Holder is an accomplished painter, his works having been showcased in several major international exhibitions and was also the author of many books, including a 1974 volume on Caribbean cooking. He was married to dancer Carmen de Lavallade. Holder died in 2014 at age 84.

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