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Geoffrey Holder
Geoffrey Lamont Holder (August 1, 1930 – October 5, 2014) was a Trinidadian-American actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, director, costume designer, voice actor and painter.

Geoffery was born in in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, into a middle-class family. One of four children, he was taught painting and dancing by his older brother Boscoe Holder, whose dance troupe, the Holder Dance Company. After he's brother moved to London Geoffery took charge of the company in the late 1940s. 

On December 30, 1954, Holder made his Broadway debut at the Alvin Theatre in the Caribbean-themed original musical House of Flowers, with music by Harold Arlen, who also co-wrote the book with Truman Capote.
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Publicity Shot

Herbert Ross did the choreography but the Banda Dance was choreographed by Holder. From 1955 through 1956 Holder was a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Holder met and married fellow cast member Carmen DeLavallade, a dancer, and the two had a son together.
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Directing the Munchkin scene

​​​​​​​Holder won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his staging of the Broadway musical The Wiz , the all-African American retelling of The Wizard of Oz . He also won the Tony for best costume design . As a choreographer he has created dance pieces for many companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Holder also lent his talents to many films and televison boradcasting such as Doctor Dolittle, Alice in Wonderland, Annie and Live and Let Die. He also provided the voice for Ray the Sun in the children's series Bear in the Big Blue House and was the narrator for Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Holder was also the spokesman for 7-Up for years, He was most remembered with his deep voice and memorable "Ha Ha Ha Ha" laugh in the soda commercials.

Trivia

  • Holder had a deep voice, very reminiscent of James Earl Jones
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    Holder and Ted Ross as the Lion

  • Holder was 6,6
  • Created a 30 ft mural for the Trinidad Hilton Hotel and exhibited at New York's Sindin Gallery on Broadway.
  • He wrote two books 'Black Gods, Green Islands' and 'Geoffrey Holder's Caribbean Cookbook'.
  • Upon winning the best-director Tony Award in 1975, he said in his acceptance speech, "Just try making that out of a cola nut!" This was a reference to his television commercial for 7-Up, which ended with the same words.

Videos

Ray Bolger Presents Tony for Best Director to The Wiz (1975)

Ray Bolger Presents Tony for Best Director to The Wiz (1975)

Geoffrey recieves a Tony from the Scarecrow himself

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