Sidney Poitier, who broke into racial divides in his role as the first Black recipient of the top actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field, and influenced generations of people through the movement for civil rights passed away at the age of 94 An official of the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms.
Poitier established a notable film career in one year, with three films from 1967 during a time of segregation that was prevalent in the US.
For the show Guess Who’s coming To Dinner the actor was a black man who had white finance. In The Heat of the Night he played Virgil Tibbs, a black police officer who was confronted by racism during an investigation into a murder.
He was also an instructor in a difficult London school that year . To Sir, With Love
Poitier was born in Miami on the 20th of February 1927. He was raised on a farm that grew tomatoes in the Bahamas and only had an academic year in formal education.
He fought against discrimination, poverty and illiteracy to be among the first performers of color to get recognized and accepted in leading roles by the majority of audiences.
Poitier has won the storied best actor Oscar in 1963. Five years prior, he had been the first African-American nominated for a lead actress Oscar for his part on The Defiant Ones.
Poitier chose his roles with care, dissolving the outdated Hollywood belief that black actors could be seen only in demeaning roles such as shoe shine boys as train conductors, maids, and shoe shiners.
“I am in love with you, I admire you, and I imitate your behavior,” Denzel Washington, another Oscar winner said to Poitier during an award ceremony in public.
Poitier was a child in the tiny Bahamian town in Cat Island and in Nassau before he emigrated from Nassau to New York at 16, telling the truth about his age in order to join an insignificant stint in the military and later performing odd jobs, such as dishwashers, and learning to act.
Poitier had a great time in the world of Broadway with Anna Lucasta in 1948 and the following year, he received his first film part for the film No Way Out with Richard Widmark.
In total, he appeared on more than fifty films, and directed nine.
It was in 1992 that Poitier got the Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, the most prestigious award following the Oscar and was among the winners such as Bette Davis Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, James Cagney and Orson Welles.
Poitier was married to the actress Joanna Shimkus, his second wife, in the middle of the 1970s. Poitier had 6 daughters along with his two wives. He published three autobiographical works.
He was knighted by the queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her birthday in 1974, and in 2009, he was presented with the most prestigious US civilian award The Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.