The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Shy Baldwin Is a Fictional Character. But Is He Based on Harry Belafonte?

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Shy Baldwin Is a Fictional Character. But Is He Based on Harry Belafonte?

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Shy Baldwin Is a Fictional Character. But Is He Based on Harry Belafonte?

After a short cameo in Season Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shy Baldwin (performed by Leroy McClain) takes middle stage as his tour kicks off in Season Three with Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) as his opening act. Though real-life figures like comic Lenny Bruce are strewn concerning the Maisel cinematic universe, Shy Baldwin, a sultry-voiced crooner, didn’t exist in actual life. Nonetheless, he’s probably primarily based on a number of real-life musical icons of the interval.

Names like Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, and Ray Charles have been thrown round on-line, But the web’s hottest principle is that Shy Baldwin is predicated on legendary performer Harry Belafonte.

Belafonte was born in Harlem in 1927 to Jamaican parents, and began his profession as a membership singer in New York. He grew to become generally known as the “King of Calypso” with hits like “The Banana Boat Tune (Day-O)” and “Soar in The Line,” But he additionally dabbled in pop, blues, folks, gospel, and present tunes. Harry Belafonte additionally coated “Hava Nagila” on his 1959 album, which rapidly grew to become one among his signature songs. Whereas The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has but to provide us Shy Baldwin’s model, Midge would definitely get a kick out of it.


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Mrs. Maisel first meets Shy Baldwin in Season Two at a telethon they’re each acting at, the place he tells her he likes having comedians open for him. He explains that he usually performs with Mothers Mabley, who was an actual comic on the time. Harry Belafonte did play a task in Mabley’s profession, giving her her first TV gig in his 1967 particular A Time For Laughter. We additionally be taught that Shy Baldwin, like Belafonte, has a Christmas album and covers Broadway songs. Belafonte is even name-dropped within the episode we first meet Baldwin.

This season, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel offers just a few extra hints that Shy Baldwin’s character may very well be primarily based on Harry Belafonte. Baldwin very casually digs at Elvis in Episode Two at his home celebration, calling him the “child with the hips who stole our folks’s sound.” Within the late ’50s, music critics feared that the “calypso craze” within the U.S. would overshadow rock and roll, and certainly, Belafonte’s report “Calypso” outsold two LP’s put out by Elvis Presley in 1956. Because the kings of their respective genres, Belafonte and Presley have been usually positioned at odds with each other within the media, and Shy Baldwin’s refined reference to this rivalry may very well be a nod to Belafonte.

There are just a few different noteworthy similarities between Belafonte and Baldwin within the new season. Baldwin mentions in his Vegas press convention that he has gained a Grammy, which Belafonte did, too. In that very same press convention Baldwin cites Nat King Cole as his foremost affect, explaining how he took him below his wing. In actual life, Belafonte and Nat King Cole had a detailed friendship and dealing relationship. Belafonte even carried out on Cole’s present.

Star Rachel Brosnahan has a distinct principle. She informed Refinery29 that Shy is “form of an amalgamation of a number of totally different figures who have been that profitable, But Johnny Mathis involves thoughts.”

Johnny Mathis did report a canopy of “They Say It’s Fantastic” in 1959, a track which Shy Baldwin sings for his Vegas viewers within the present. Though Mathis by no means gained a Grammy like Belafonte, he did cite Nat King Cole as an affect in a 1968 interview, which we see Baldwin do in Episode Three.

Whichever icon Shy Baldwin is predicated on, we nonetheless have our fingers crossed for a “Hava Nagila” cowl.

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