Don Shirley (January 29, 1927 – April 6, 2013) was a Jamaican-American classical/jazz pianist and composer. Born in Pensacola, Florida, Shirley started to learn the piano at the age of two. At the age of nine he was invited to study at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music. He also studied at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 1945 he performed with the Boston Pops; a year later, he performed one of his compositions with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the 1950s and 1960s, he recorded many albums for Cadence. His single "Water Boy" reached No. 40 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 14 weeks. After Duke Ellington heard Shirley perform at the Basin Street East in New York City, they became friends. During the 1960s, Shirley went on a number of concert tours, including some in the Deep South. It was these experiences that were dramatized for the 2018 film, Green Book.