Geoffrey Holder, the man behind the villain Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die passed away on Sunday, October 5, 2014. According to the family’s attorney, Charles M. Mirotznik, the versatile artist died from complications due to pneumonia. He was 84 years old.
Standing at 6’6” and speaking with a melodious voice made Holder stand out as an actor, dancer, and 7-Up pitchman.
He won two Tony awards for direction and costume design for the 1975 production of The Wiz. Along with Live and Let Die his film credits include Doctor Dolittle, Annie, Boomerang, and voice acting in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Holder was also the dapper pitchman in the ‘70s and ‘80s for 7-Up telling people to try the “Un-Cola”. He was also a painter and a dancer, having worked with New York’s Metropolitan Opera Ballet in 1955 and 1956, then in 1957 he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for painting. He also released a cookbook in 1973 on Caribbean cuisine.
Playing opposite Roger Moore as 007, in the 1973 James Bond film Holder drew attention as the cackling man who follows Kananga/Mr. Big. Though he is shot and thrown into a coffin along with venomous snakes, he appears in the last scene presumably having utilized his supernatural abilities to stay alive.
Holder is survived by wife Carmen De Lavallade and their son Léo.