Sidney Poitier Has Died Aged 94
Legendary actor and diplomat Sidney Poitier has sadly passed away at the age of 94.
Best known for his roles in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and Lilies of the Field – for which he was the first Black and Bahamian man to win a Best Actor Oscar – among many other roles, Poitier leaves behind his wife, actor Joanna Shimkus, and his six daughters.
Poitier’s death was confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.
Born in in Miami, Florida on 20 February, 1927, Poitier grew up on a tomato farm on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He moved to the US when he was 15, and landed his first lead film role in 1955’s Blackboard Jungle.
Poitier experienced poverty during his childhood and received very limited formal education, however he went on to become one the most revered actors of his generation.
In 1958, Poitier was nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Defiant Ones. A few years later, he became the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in 1963’s Lilies Of The Field.
With numerous acting successes throughout the 1950s and 60s under his belt, in the 1970s, Poitier began directing films with great success.
As well as his formidable acting and directing abilities, Poitier was known for his work in diplomacy. Known to be fluent in Russian, he was appointed ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan from 1997 until 2007.
He combined this with being the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO from 2002 to 2007.
Poitier often provided inspiration and advice for younger actors and will no doubt be remembered as one of the most respected actors in American cinematic history.
Jeffrey Wright, who plays Felix Leiter in No Time To Die and other Bond films, wrote on Twitter: ‘Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love.’
Last month, it was announced that a Broadway play was also in the works about his ‘trailblazing career’.
Poitier is survived by six children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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