At the age of 94, the legendary actor Sidney Poitier has died
On January 6, 2022, legendary actor Sidney Poitier passed away in his residence in Los Angeles, California. Poitier’s 71-year filmography includes iconic roles in classic Hollywood films such as A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Uptown Saturday Night. Poitier’s groundbreaking works in the 1950s and 1960s paved the way for future generations of African-American movie stars.
At the age of 16, legendary actor Sidney Poitier relocated to New York City after spending several years in the Bahamas with his family. In exchange to train as an actor, Poitier worked as a janitor at the American Negro Theater in New York. He began acting in plays for multiple years until making his film debut in No Way Out.
Poitier made a conscious decision early in his career to refuse jobs that didn’t align with his principles, or that cast a negative light on his race. In 1959, Poitier received his first Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Defiant Ones. He was the first Black actor to be nominated for “Best Actor”, which was noteworthy for America and the African-American community.
Many of his most popular movies dealt with racial tensions at a period when Americans were dealing with the societal upheavals brought on by the Civil Rights movement. Poitier’s roles in In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who drew attention to racial prejudice. The same roles allowed African-Americans across the US to view themselves in cinema as professionals rather than servants. In 1963, Poitier became the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for “Best Actor” for Lilies of the Field.
Poitier married twice and had a romantic relationship with Diahann Carroll, a famous actress and singer. In 1976, Poitier married Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus who remained a partner until Sidney Poitier passed away. In addition to his six children, legendary actor Sidney Poitier is remembered by his eight grandkids and three great-grandchildren.