Legendary Hollywood actor Sidney Poitier passes away

Sidney Poitier, who broke by way of racial boundaries as the primary Black winner of one of the best actor Oscar for his function in Lilies of the Discipline, and impressed a technology throughout the civil rights motion, has died at age 94, an official from the Bahamian Ministry of Overseas Affairs stated on Friday.

Eugene Torchon-Newry, appearing director normal of the Ministry of Overseas Affairs, confirmed Poitier’s dying.

Sidney Poitier created a distinguished movie legacy in a single yr with three 1967 movies at a time when segregation prevailed in a lot of america.

In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, he performed a Black man with a white fiancee and Within the Warmth of the Evening, he was Virgil Tibbs, a Black police officer confronting racism throughout a homicide investigation. He additionally performed a instructor in a tricky London college that yr in To Sir, With Love.

Poitier had received his history-making greatest actor Oscar for Lilies of the Discipline in 1963, enjoying a handyman who helps German nuns construct a chapel within the desert. 5 years earlier than that Poitier had been the primary Black man nominated for a lead actor Oscar for his function in The Defiant Ones.

His Tibbs character from Within the Warmth of the Evening was immortalized in two sequels – They Name Me Mister Tibbs! in 1970 and The Group in 1971 – and have become the idea of the tv collection Within the Warmth of the Evening starring Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins.

His different basic movies of that period included A Patch of Blue in 1965 wherein his character is befriended by a blind white lady, The Blackboard Jungle and A Raisin within the Solar, which Poitier additionally carried out on Broadway.

Sidney Poitier was born in Miami on Feb. 20, 1927, and raised on a tomato farm within the Bahamas, and had only one yr of formal education. He struggled in opposition to poverty, illiteracy and prejudice to grow to be one of many first Black actors to be identified and accepted in main roles by mainstream audiences.

Poitier picked his roles with care, burying the previous Hollywood concept that Black actors might seem solely in demeaning contexts as shoeshine boys, prepare conductors and maids.

“I like you, I respect you, I imitate you,” Denzel Washington, one other Oscar winner, as soon as instructed Poitier at a public ceremony.

As a director, Poitier labored together with his good friend Harry Belafonte and Invoice Cosby in Uptown Saturday Evening in 1974 and Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in 1980’s Stir Loopy.


Sidney Poitier grew up within the small Bahamian village of Cat Island and in Nassau earlier than he moved to New York at 16, mendacity about his age to enroll in a brief stint within the Military after which working at odd jobs, together with dishwasher, whereas taking appearing classes.

The younger actor received his first break when he met the casting director of the American Negro Theater. He was an understudy in Days of Our Youth and took over when the star, Belafonte, who additionally would grow to be a pioneering Black actor, fell unwell.

Poitier went on to success on Broadway in Anna Lucasta in 1948 and, two years later, received his first film function in No Approach Out with Richard Widmark.

In all, he acted in additional than 50 movies and directed 9, beginning in 1972 with Buck and the Preacher wherein he co-starred with Belafonte.

In 1992, Poitier was given the Life Achievement Award by the American Movie Institute, probably the most prestigious honor after the Oscar, becoming a member of recipients comparable to Bette Davis, Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, James Cagney and Orson Welles.

“I need to additionally pay due to an aged Jewish waiter who took time to assist a younger Black dishwasher study to learn,” Poitier instructed the viewers. “I can’t let you know his title. I by no means knew it. However I learn fairly good now.”

In 2002, an honorary Oscar acknowledged “his outstanding accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”

Sidney Poitier married actress Joanna Shimkus, his second spouse, within the mid-Nineteen Seventies. He had six daughters together with his two wives and wrote three books – This Life (1980), The Measure of a Man: A Non secular Autobiography (2000) and Life Past Measure: Letters to My Nice-Granddaughter (2008).

“In the event you apply purpose and logic to this profession of mine, you’re not going to get very far,” he instructed the Washington Submit. “The journey has been unbelievable from its starting. A lot of life, it appears to me, is set by pure randomness.”

Poitier wrote three autobiographical books and in 2013 revealed Montaro Caine, a novel that was described as half thriller, half science fiction.

The actor was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and served because the Bahamian ambassador to Japan and to UNESCO, the U.N. cultural company. He additionally sat on Walt Disney Co’s board of administrators from 1994 to 2003.

In 2009, Poitier was awarded the best U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

The 2014 Academy Awards ceremony marked the fiftieth anniversary of Sidney Poitier’s historic Oscar and he was there to current the award for greatest director.

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