Holly B signs off at 91

Holly B.
Holly B.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Former radio and TV producer, presenter and actor Holly Betaudier (Holly B) passed away peacefully at his home last Sunday night.

He turned 91 on Jan. 27.

Betaudier saw all of his children within the last month and a half. On his dad’s passing, his son Holly Jr. said: “He’s done what he has done throughout his entire life. He is a legacy to a number of people who he has assisted in getting to their goals in the entertainment world.

“And that’s what he seemed to have been placed on this Earth to do, to assist people to get to wherever they needed to go in the entertainment industry.”

Betaudier had been ailing for some time before he left the public eye last year, even though his voice was still heard Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on I95.5FM doing a short feature called Toute Bagai.

Betaudier’s career in media began in August 1946 at the American Naval base in Chaguaramas, working for the U.S. Armed Forces radio service network WVDI as an announcer.

In 1962, when Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence, Betaudier was among the pioneers at the birth of Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) station.

In 1963, Betaudier started hosting in-studio presentations from the various Calypso tents with appearances from the likes of Sparrow, Melody and Kitchener. But at that time the local viewing audience wanted more local programming.

This resulted in Betaudier championing local cultural and entertainment programs, including the popular TV talent show Scouting for Talent.

That show helped launch the careers of many entertainers and became a platform for local culture. Among the numerous entertainers the show produced were Denise Plummer, Francis Prime, the United Sisters, Chalkdust and Singing Francine.

Betaudier was also an influential advocate for keeping traditional Parang alive with his Holly B Parang Bandwagon, a show he originally launched during his stint at Radio Trinidad, Parang with Holly.

Holly B will be missed by practically all of TT. He leaves his wife Valerie, sons Anthony and Holly Jr., daughters Barbara and Jennifer and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.