Sidney Poitier, 1st Black man to win best actor Oscar, dies at 94

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sister-mary-agnes-ample-bottom  •  3 weeks ago  •  34 comments

By:   ABC - no author listed

Sidney Poitier, 1st Black man to win best actor Oscar, dies at 94

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Sidney Poitier , the Oscar-winning actor who brought a quiet dignity to his characters on screen and helped break down the color barrier in Hollywood, has died. He was 94 years old.

Poitier's death was confirmed by two Bahamian ministers. Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper told ABC News he was "conflicted with great sadness and a sense of celebration when I learned of the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier."

"Sadness that he would no longer be here to tell him how much he means to us, but celebration that he did so much to show the world that those from the humblest beginnings can change the world and that we gave him his flowers while he was with us," he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell also told ABC News, "We've lost a great Bahamian and I've lost a personal friend."

MORE: Sydney Poitier through the years

Poitier became the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor in 1964 for his role in "Lilies of the Field." He was perhaps best known for his role as a Black doctor engaged to a white woman in 1967's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," in which he starred opposite   Katharine Hepburn   and Spencer Tracy.

That same year, he portrayed his most successful character, Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs in the Southern crime drama "In the Heat of the Night." It was a role he would reprise in two sequels. He played an inner-city teacher in "To Sir, with Love," his third film in 1967.

Born Feb. 20, 1927, in Miami while his Bahamian parents were visiting, Poitier spent most of his childhood in the Bahamas. As a teen, he was sent to live with one of his brothers in Miami, and at age 16, moved on his own to New York City. After working a series of menial jobs and a brief stint in the Army, he finally landed a spot at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem.

He made his film debut in 1950 in "No Way Out," playing a doctor treating a white bigot. His breakthrough role came in 1955 playing a student in an inner-city school in "Blackboard Jungle." He had earned his first Academy Award nomination for starring in the 1958 crime drama "The Defiant Ones" with Tony Curtis.

Other memorable roles included the musical "Porgy and Bess," the film adaptation of "A Raisin in the Sun" and "A Patch of Blue."

Starting in the 1970s, Poitier directed a number of films, including "Uptown Saturday Night" and "Let's Do It Again" with Bill Cosby. In 1980, he directed the hit comedy "Stir Crazy," starring Richard Pryor and   Gene Wilder .

After retiring from acting in 1997, he served as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan until 2007.

In 2002, 38 years after receiving his best actor Oscar, Poitier was given an honorary Academy Award for his "remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being." In 2009, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.

Poitier is survived by six daughters, four of whom he had with first wife Juanita Hardy. He is also survived by his current wife Joanna Shimkus, the mother of two of his daughters, including actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier.


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Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

If this keeps up, my perpetual state of sadness will remain in a perpetual state of sadness.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
2  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

Oh, and at some point in the near future, I'll be watching To Sir With Love, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

 
 
 
Jasper2529
PhD Participates
2.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2    3 weeks ago

Those are two of my favorites. Just watched "To Sir, with Love" a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't already seen them, watch "Blackboard Jungle", "A Patch of Blue", and "In the Heat of the Night". They're excellent, too!

Rest peacefully, Sidney Poitier.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
3  Kathleen    3 weeks ago

He was a great actor and I liked him in a lot of films. My favorite was In the Heat of the Night and To Sir with Love.

Rest in Peace Sidney.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

Heaven has a new power couple....Sidney Poitier and Betty White.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4    2 weeks ago

I like that

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5  sandy-2021492    3 weeks ago

Rest in peace, Mr. Poitier.  You were a remarkable man.

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
6  shona1    3 weeks ago

Morning...

What a sad way to start the day..

Another light has gone out and our world has become a little bit darker once again...

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
7  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

It is difficult to pick a fav film of his, but mine is A Patch Of Blue.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

The most iconic black actor of all time. And a civil rights icon. 

I do wish though that he would have been able to show a more fun side of his personality from time to time. He was presented as this endlessly noble figure and it typecast him. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
8.1  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @8    3 weeks ago

he elevated black actors in hollywood from caricatures to serious actors prior to and during a turbulent time in american race relations. he broke the hollywood color barrier with his 1st academy award.

 
 
 
RU4Real
Freshman Silent
8.2  RU4Real  replied to  JohnRussell @8    2 weeks ago

Please watch Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again and perhaps A Piece of the Action, his three-film directing deal with American International (AI).  Though the first two are comedies, and the third having more serous undertones, the movies show his comedic side with being buffoonery and stereotypical.  Even the guest appearances aren't overly done.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
9  Kavika     3 weeks ago

Sidney and Tony Curtis in ''The Defiant Ones'' was a very good movie. Of course, the others listed in the were all first class.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
9.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Kavika @9    2 weeks ago

Almost every actor has had a stinker of a film, but he never did....not one.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
9.1.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @9.1    2 weeks ago
Almost every actor has had a stinker of a film, but he never did....not one.

I never thought of it, but it doesn't surprise me one bit.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
10  Kathleen    3 weeks ago

The only movie that I did not like was Guess Who's coming to Dinner. It wasn't because of the subject matter because it had to be addressed and I felt there should be nothing wrong with a couple of different races marrying. Also I thought Sidney, Katherine Hepburn and Spender Tracy were great in their parts. Also the other actors as well except one. I had two problems with the movie. One was the girl that Sidney was going to marry. I thought she was a air head and oblivious to everything. The second thing was that the black guy they picked had to be a extraordinary black guy with many degrees and a very high education. Why not an average blue collar worker like any other black or white guy. That was not good enough?  Do you understand what I mean? ( I am not saying there were no highly education black people, just they had to pick that background for that part.)

I thought the subject matter was good and all the actors were good, but the way they did it was unrealistic to me.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
10.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kathleen @10    3 weeks ago
The second thing was that the black guy they picked had to be a extraordinary black guy with many degrees and a very high education. Why not an average blue collar worker like any other black or white guy. That was not good enough?  Do you understand what I mean?

I get it, but I think that was meant to highlight the hypocrisy of miscegenation laws at the time.  Him being highly educated and a humanitarian and just an overall good guy, but somehow still not good enough due to his race, showed just how inhumane those laws were, and how blinded by racism those who adhered to them must be.  It was a bit clumsy, perhaps.

My cousin, who is white, married a black man from England, and some of our family damn near disowned her.  They wanted her to go back to her previous boyfriend, who had money, but put her in the hospital several times.  To them, an abusive white man was still better than a nonabusive black man.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
10.1.1  Kathleen  replied to  sandy-2021492 @10.1    3 weeks ago

Okay, so their intentions were pointing that out as well. Then they succeeded with me with the point they were trying to make with that. Although they could have picked a more mature realistic actress for the woman he was going to marry. 

That's a shame about your family, fear is a terrible thing.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
10.1.2  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  sandy-2021492 @10.1    2 weeks ago

I liked the attention given to the racism on both sides.  Joey's father (Spencer Tracey), and Dr. Prentice' mother (Beah Richards) had some issues to work out for sure.  But I had to admit that the maid, Tilly (the great Isabel Sanford), was a hoot with her disapproval.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
10.1.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @10.1.2    2 weeks ago

I'm going to have to rewatch it.  It's been a long time.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
10.1.4  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  sandy-2021492 @10.1.3    2 weeks ago

Tilly, who was clearly a beloved member of the Drayton family, treated Dr. Prentice like he was dipped in dog-do for even thinking he was the right man for Joey.  

Isabel Sanford almost stole the show from everyone else.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
11  CB     2 weeks ago

Thank you, Mr. Poitier. You can ascend your steps to our pantheon of highly favored and decent souls. You rescued a people and gave us more to hope for in seeing your portrayals "in black" than we ever thought possible at the time. A man among men. A black among Blacks. A friend among friends. Well done good and faithful one!

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
11.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  CB @11    2 weeks ago
A man among men. A black among Blacks. A friend among friends. Well done good and faithful one!

!!!!!!!!!

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
12  MrFrost    2 weeks ago

And now, sadly, we can add Bob Saget to the list.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
12.1  CB   replied to  MrFrost @12    2 weeks ago

They do die in threes in Hollywood, eh?  Betty White; Sidney Poitier; Bob Saget.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
12.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  CB @12.1    2 weeks ago

Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman) died today at 87.  My childhood is disappearing.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
12.1.2  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Gsquared @12.1.1    2 weeks ago

Oh, no!  I hadn't heard about Dwayne Hickman.  I'm so bummed.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
12.2  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  MrFrost @12    2 weeks ago
And now, sadly, we can add Bob Saget to the list.

I know!  Bob Saget was a complete shock.  Sidney Poitier, as lovely as he was, and as wonderful as his memory will always be due to his films and the way he lived his life, was 94.  Bob Saget was 65.  That's whippersnapper young.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
12.2.1  CB   replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @12.2    2 weeks ago

Yes, though it is superstition, I imagine in Hollywood when the first new death happens. . .all get nervous as if walking on eggshells wandering after the next two (to come).

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
12.2.2  Gsquared  replied to  CB @12.2.1    2 weeks ago

Betty White died in 2021, so Dobie makes it 3 for 2022.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
12.2.3  CB   replied to  Gsquared @12.2.2    2 weeks ago

They die in "threes" is not based on crossing the new year. It depends on Hollywood. Dobie may start a new count. . . oh-oh. . . Hollywood is on notice again, GS'. Scary business of being a Hollywood 'type.'

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
12.2.4  Gsquared  replied to  CB @12.2.3    2 weeks ago

It's pretty scary, CB.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
13  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

RIP, Mr. Poitier. Thank you for your work. The pleasure is all mine

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
13.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Trout Giggles @13    2 weeks ago
RIP, Mr. Poitier. Thank you for your work. The pleasure is all mine

I like that.

 
 

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