A senior stateman is gone. His determination, drive, dignity and determination transformed Hollywood and America. They also inspired a generation of Black men to follow their dreams and pursue the arts.
Sidney Poitier, 94, has passed away.
Sidney Poitier was a trailblazing filmmaker and actor who has tragically passed away in his 94th year.
He was the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his performance in ‘Lilies of the Field.’ pic.twitter.com/eEmlcopjqQ
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier, one of the last stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age whose barrier-breaking career spanned more than seven decades, has died. He was 94.
Clint Watson was the press secretary of the Prime Minister in the Bahamas and confirmed that Poitier had died on Thursday night.
Poitier, in addition to his films that made a difference and were acclaimed for their impact on the world, was known as an activist. Poitier participated in the American Civil Rights Movement, marched alongside the Rev. John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Sidney Poitier (27-02-22) and Harry Belafonte, March on Washington pic.twitter.com/4Tu6Fo7msn
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 7, 2022
Poitier was also the ambassador of Bahamian to Japan between 1997 and 2007.
According to Poitier’s IMDB biography Poitier was born on May 27, 1927 in Miami. Poitier was visiting his Bahamian family at that time. He unexpectedly chose to arrive 2 months early. Poitier, who was born on Cat Island in the Bahamas, had no formal education. Poitier moved to Miami at the age of 15 with his brother, to keep him away from juvenile delinquency.
When he was 18, he traveled to New York for menial tasks and spent the night in bus stations. A brief stint in the Army as a worker at a veterans’ hospital was followed by more menial jobs in Harlem. Poitier was so rejected at American Negro Theatre for his impulsive audition, he dedicated six months to learning how to get over his accent and improve performing skills. He was finally accepted on his second attempt.
Spotted in rehearsal by a casting agent, he won a bit part in the Broadway production of “Lysistrata”, for which he earned good reviews. By the end of 1949, he was having to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). His portrayal of a doctor to treat a white supremacist earned him a lot of attention and led to many more roles.
Poitier brought elegance and dignity into every role at a moment when there were few examples of Black men with the right qualities. Poitier set the standard for excellence, refusing to take on roles that he found demeaning. He eventually built a reputation of accomplishments and recognition that earned him Leading Man status. His first role was in There is no way out(1950), Poitier, then 22 years old, lied to Joseph L. Mankiewicz. He claimed he was 27, and that he had been living in a lie.
One of those pivotal roles was 1958’s The Defiant Ones. Portier initially turned down a leading role in Otto Preminger’s Porgy & BessHe wanted to be in that role The Defiant Ones.This was smart as Poitier received his first Academy Award nomination in Best Actor. Poitier continued to be a successful actor. Porgy & BessIn 1959 and with the commercial and critical success. Un rasin for the SunPoitier played both the Broadway and film roles in the role of.
Five years later, Poitier did what no other Black man had ever done: he won the Best Actor Oscar for 1963’s Lilies of the Field.
1964: Sidney Poitier’s Oscars acceptance speech after he became the first Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 7, 2022
The role and win cemented Poitier’s status as Leading Man, and opened the door to more culturally disruptive roles in such movies as 1965’s Blue Patch, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, The Heat of the NightPlease see the following: To Sir With Your LoveAll of this was in 1967.
Poitier, who had made history by changing society’s perception of Black men, decided to let it all hang and joined Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, in a variety of comedic roles. Uptown Saturday NightThe year 1974 saw the following: Let’s Do It AgainThe year 1975 was One Piece of the Action In 1977, he directed all three. Poitier was the director of comedic geniuses Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the 1980s. Stir Crazy.
Poitier continued acting, directing, and producing well into the 2000s. Poitier received an Honorary Academy Award in 2002. This was the year Denzel Washington became second Black actor to be awarded the Best Actor Oscar. Training Day. Washington’s acceptance speech paid homage to the great man.
“I’ll be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps.”
— Lights, Camera, Pod (@LightsCameraPod) January 7, 2022