Holder, Geoffrey(1930– ) dancer, choreographer, artist; born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. He started dancing at age seven in his brother's dance group, which Geoffrey later brought to Puerto Rico (1952), there attracting the attention of choreographer Agnes de Mille. He made his Broadway debut in House of Flowers (1955), and after his marriage to dancer Carmen de Lavallade, he danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet (1957). A talented painter, he won a Guggenheim grant (1957) and became an avid collector of folk art. He created costumes and scenery for dance companies such as Alvin Ailey's. He won Tony Awards for costume design and direction of The Wiz (1975), he choreographed Timbuktu (1978), and later played Punjab in the movie, Annie (1981). With his varied talents and standing six feet six inches tall, he often seemed larger than life, while his distinctively resonant voice became familiar to millions through several television commercial series he made.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.