Geoffrey Holder (1930-2014)
Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, costume designer and painter, passed away on Sunday, October 5 at the age of 84. Holder directed his own dance troupe in his native Trinidad and Tobago, danced on Broadway and as a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and won Tony Awards in 1975 for direction and costume design of a musical, for The Wiz. His choreography has been in the repertory of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Dance Theatre of Harlem, among others, and includes works like Prodigal Prince, about the Haitian folk painter Hector Hyppolite; and Dougla, a signature piece for DTH.
Holder also acted onstage, in films and on television, and was well known for his role in the original 7-Up “Uncola” commercials in the 1970s and 80s. His artwork, including paintings, photography and sculpture, has been shown in galleries and museums, and he published books on Caribbean folklore and cooking. In a 2010 article, Holder told Dance Magazine, “I create for that innocent little boy in the balcony who has come to the theater for the first time. He wants to see magic, so I want to give him magic. He sees things that his father couldn’t see.” Holder is survived by his wife, the dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and their son, Léo.
Photo of Holder by Jeffrey Hornstein.
*Please note that obituaries are reader submitted and are not fact-checked for content.