Shari Belafonte (born September 22, 1954) is an American actress, model, writer and singer. The daughter of singer Harry Belafonte, she is known for her role as Julie Gilette on the 1980s television series Hotel and as a spokesperson for the diet supplement Slim-Fast during the 1990s.
Shari Lynn Belafonte was born in New York City, the daughter of Marguerite [née Byrd], a psychologist, and Harry Belafonte, a singer and actor. She attended Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts and Buxton School in Williamstown, Massachusetts, then Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts before transferring to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama. She has been married twice: First to Robert Harper (May 21, 1977 – 1988). She has been married to Sam Behrens since December 30, 1989.
Belafonte began her career as a model, becoming a successful cover girl model and appearing in commercials for Calvin Klein jeans. She made her feature film debut in 1982 in the movies Time Walker and If You Could See What I Hear. She then worked as a production assistant and assistant director in public television on the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles, where she became an assistant to the publicist at Hanna-Barbera productions.
While getting her hands wet "behind the scenes", she has also received a number of modeling and commercial assignments, and has appeared on the cover of over 300 magazines.
Early in her career, Belafonte landed a role opposite The Beastmaster's Marc Singer in the feature film If You Could See What I Hear. Other feature films include The Time Walker, Speed Zone, The Midnight Hour and Fire, Ice and Dynamite.
Well-known producer Aaron Spelling cast her as "Julie Gilette" in the ABC television series Hotel, in which she starred during the show's five-year run (1983–1988). In 1984, she also appeared in another of Spelling's projects—the action-adventure TV movie, Velvet, starring opposite Leah Ayres, Mary Margaret Humes and Sheree J. Wilson. It was during this time that Shari began her music career on Metronome Records, releasing several albums in Europe.
Belafonte made her theatrical debut in Tamara, playing the title role in the long-running Los Angeles production. Shortly thereafter, she starred as Dr. Laura Wingate in the USA Network's dramatic series Beyond Reality, which ran for two years. In addition, Shari also co-hosted the syndicated series Lifestyles with Robin Leach and Shari Belafonte, an updated version of Leach's signature show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. As of 2006 Shari can be seen hosting a travel program called "Travels In Mexico And The Caribbean With Shari Belafonte" on NYCTV.
Belafonte's multi-faceted career also includes moderating and voiceovers. She has producing credits for theater, public and network television, and feature films. In addition to her affiliation with numerous children's, animal, and environment causes, she has also become the international spokesman for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten celebrity endorsers, Shari has been the spokesman for numerous corporations including Bally's International Health and Fitness, Slim-Fast, Diet System 6, and most recently, Estroven.
Belafonte also provided the voice of Lupé the leader of the Wolf Pack in Sonic the Hedgehog, Gerald's mother Mrs Johanssen in four episodes of Hey Arnold!, Diana Cruz in an episode of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and the undead Southern belle zombie Blanche in Gravedale High.
Belafonte posed nude for Playboy in the magazine's September, 2000 edition. She is an avid photographer.