He was, Harry Belafonte, the singer activist, who dropped out of high school, worked odd jobs, enlisted in the Navy, got out in 1945 and went to work as a janitor in a New York City apartment building. While installing Venetian blinds for a tenant, an actress in the American Negro Theater gave him tickets to a play they were performing— “about returning black servicemen trying to establish postwar lives in Harlem . . . That play didn’t just speak to me, it mesmerized me.” He joined the company and then a theater workshop at the New School, his fellow students: Tony Curtis, Walter Mathau, Bea Arthur, Elaine Stritch, Wally Cox Rod Steiger, and Marlon Brando. Of Brando, he said, “I never met a white man who so thoroughly embraced black culture. He loved going with me to black clubs.” A saxophonist at one of these clubs saw Harry sing at a New School production and got him a gig there. “I’m not a singer, what you saw me do was acting,” but he took the job for $70 a week singing “Pennies from Heaven.” The rest, as they say, is history.