Ten Things You Should Know About Geoffrey Holder

Remembering the multi-faceted pop culture icon.

Geoffrey Holder - Tony Award-winning director, actor, painter and choreographer Geoffrey Holder died on Oct. 5 of complications of pneumonia in New York. The Trinidadian-American multi-talented performer was 84. His extensive list of accomplishments include leading the The Wiz to Broadway and playing a scary villain in the James Bond film Live and Let Die.(Photo: Tina Fineberg, File/AP Photo)

1 / 11

Remembering an Icon - In a world in which every artist is a multi-hyphenate, Geoffrey Lamont Holder was a true Renaissance man and a pioneer in the Black arts scene. The Trinidadian artist, who passed away on October 5, was a Tony Award-winning director and costume designer, an actor, dancer, painter, singer, author and voice-over artist — not to mention a dedicated husband and father. Here's a look at 10 things you should know about the late, great Geoffrey Holder. — By Moriba Cummings Photo: AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-7-up-ad-commercial.jpg

2 / 11

Advertising Genius - In the 1970s, a young Holder became the spokesperson for popular soft drink 7-Up, coining the term "the un-cola." In 2011, four decades after his first campaign, he reprised his contract for the soda giant during the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice.(Photo: 7-UP)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-the-wiz.jpg

3 / 11

Making History - In 1975, Holder won two Tony Awards for direction and costume design of Broadway's The Wiz, the all-Black musical rendition of The Wizard of Oz. He was the first Black man to be nominated in either category.(Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-boomerang-movie-still.jpg

4 / 11

The Essence of Sex - Holder became a part of pop culture history with the infamous "Essence of Sex" scene in the 1992 film Boomerang, in which Holder — who played Eddie Murphy's colleague — had a hilariously frisky exchange with Ms. Strangé herself, Grace Jones.(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-portrait.jpg

5 / 11

Broadway Star - Exactly 60 years ago, Holder made his Broadway debut in the musical House of Flowers, where he danced alongside the legendary Alvin Ailey. Though the show as a whole didn't reach mass appeal, its score and rhythm became an instant hit for its infusion of blues and calypso.(Photo: John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)

ADVERTISEMENT
100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-home-country-Port-of-Spain-Trinidad-parade.jpg

6 / 11

Trini to D' Bone - Holder was a proud native of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where he spent his entire childhood. He attended Tranquility Primary School before heading to Queen's Royal College in Port-of-Spain for high school. He began dancing with his brother at the age of seven, and the rest is history.(Photo: REUTERS /ANDREA DE SILVA /LANDOV)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-cook-book.jpg

7 / 11

West Indian Flavor - Though he became one of the brightest stars to emerge from the world of theater, Holder never forgot his West Indian roots, especially when it came to its cuisine. In 1973, he released his own collection of recipes titled Geoffrey Holder's Caribbean Cookbook, in which he shared the dishes from his childhood in Trinidad.(Photo: Viking Adult)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-wife-Carmen-de-Lavallade.jpg

8 / 11

Love at First Dance - At 25, Holder married fellow dancer Carmen de Lavallade, whom he met on the set of his first Broadway musical House of Flowers and proposed to her in less than a week. The couple lived in New York City and had one son, Leo Anthony Lamont. Next year would have marked the couple's 60th wedding anniversary.(Photo: Alpha /Landov)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-LIVE-AND-LET-DIE-movie-villian.jpg

9 / 11

Master Villain - Though Holder was known as an affable person in real life, he had a knack for playing some great movie villains. Some of his most prolific bad-guy roles included the voodoo-practicing Baron Samedi in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die and the commanding ruler of a floating island in Doctor Dolittle.(Photo: Corbis)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-josephine-baker-playbook.jpg

10 / 11

Baker and Holder - Talk about legendary! Holder worked alongside Josephine Baker in the 1964 Broadway revue built around her life. The playbill stands as one of the most iconic to date.(Photo: Playbill Magazine, 1964)

100714-celebs-Geoffrey-Holder-painter-Lena-Horne.jpg

11 / 11

Artist to the Stars - Adding artist to his extensive résumé, Holder was known as a prolific painter, and even was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in fine arts in 1956. Buyers of his art included Lena Horne and conservative pundit William F. Buckley Jr.(Photo: Corbis)