My father, Boscoe Holder, a pianist, painter, and leader of the company, Boscoe Holder and his Caribbean Dancers, died at age 85. He led a vibrant life in London during the fifties and sixties, performing on British television and radio, in variety and nightclubs, in films, and on the West End.
His company appeared at the Watergate Theatre Club, Players Theatre, and The Royal Albert Hall, as well as at the Savoy, Churchill’s, and the Pigalle. Alternately he toured Europe, and had paintings exhibited in London at the Trafford, and Redfern galleries among others.
Born in Trinidad in 1921, he began playing the piano by ear at age five. Painting soon followed. His first dance group was formed in his early twenties.
Sheila Clarke, evacuated from England to Trinidad to escape the Blitz, became his lead dancer and also sang with the group. In 1948 they married, and after I was born they made their home in London. Instantly taken under the wing of distinguished designer Oliver Messel, a new social world opened up for them
From 1959 to 1963, my father produced, choreographed and costumed the floorshow at the May Fair Hotel, where his band, The Pinkerton Boys, alternated with Harry Roy’s orchestra. In 1966 he opened his own private club, The Hay Hill, in Mayfair.
My father danced for Queen Elizabeth at her coronation, and, in 1955, at Windsor Castle.
Returning to Trinidad in 1970, he focused exclusively on painting, receiving awards and medals from the governments of Trinidad, Venezuela, and France.
Boscoe Holder died at his home in Trinidad on April 21, from cancer and complications from diabetes. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, his son, Christian, and by his siblings, Geoffrey and Marjorie.
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