Geoffrey Holder died on Sunday after struggling with a serious case of pneumonia, according to the New York Times.
Many people today might not have any idea who Geoffrey Holder was – especially since he does not have the same familiarity with today’s generation as other celebrities who have died this year, such as Robin Williams and Joan Rivers.
However, those who are familiar with Geoffrey Holder and his lengthy career on the small screen, big screen and Broadway stage know that Hollywood has lost yet another pioneer and legend in his own right.
Physically, Geoffrey Holder towered over more people – especially since he measured 6’6″ in height. However, Geoffrey’s immeasurable talent is what truly made him a giant in the eyes of many fans and critics alike over the years.
On the Broadway stage, Geoffrey Holder was primarily known for directing and designing the costumes for the 1975 production of The Wiz, for which he earned two Tony awards.
On the big screen, Geoffrey was known for such scene-stealing roles as Willie Shakespeare in Doctor Dolittle, Baron Samedi in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, as well as the mystical Punjab in the 1982 musical film version of Annie.
Many people might even remember that Geoffrey Holder was the spokesperson for 7-Up for quite a few commercials, famously stating that the soft drink was the “Un-Cola.”
Nearly 30 years ago, PEOPLE Magazine stated that Geoffrey Holder was known for having a “voice as deep as Othello and as smooth as Caribbean rum.”
In addition to his impressive resume of acting credits, Geoffrey Holder proved throughout his life that he could not be categorized by one particular title or in one exclusive talent group. Holder actually hated labels and never bit his tongue in reference to them.
“We are too quick to put labels on things. It is my profession. I get up and paint. Everyone wants to put a label on it, but I am a free spirit, so I fight against that.”
He was a stage director. He was an amazing choreographer.
A fun fact about the brilliant Geoffrey Holder – he choreographed the 5th season opening sequence of The Cosby Show. http://t.co/F2CNfLeFWC
— VintageBlackGlamour (@VintageBlkGlam) October 6, 2014
He was a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet who was able to choreograph impressive performances for Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theater of Harlem long after he hung up his own dancing shoes for the last time. Geoffrey was also a talented painter whose impressionist masterpieces were hung as primary exhibits in art museums, galleries and the homes of A-list celebrities. As if that is not enough, Geoffrey Holder was just as poetic in the kitchen as he was on the Broadway stage – creating a popular Caribbean cuisine cookbook which was filled with delicious recipes for such dishes as salt-fish pie, king turtle stew and coconut chicken Sigurd.
One of the great voices! RIP Geoffrey Holder. Thank you. #ShareLove
— Erik Todd Dellums (@ETDellums) October 6, 2014
RIP Geoffrey Holder, a Renaissance man of astonishing breadth of accomplishment. Warm & friendly, too. http://t.co/rBQOQHjops
— Farran Nehme (@selfstyledsiren) October 6, 2014
Most people might not recognize the name, Geoffrey Holder. However, the impact that his work left on the world of cinema, Broadway and fine art will forever be remembered by those who loved him. Hopefully, his boundless spirit and amazing talent may still be discovered by a new generation of admirers.
[Image Credit: Screen Crush]