According to the Bahamas’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, legendary actor Sidney Poitier died today.
Eyewitness News Bahamas was first to report his death.
Poitier overcame an impoverished background in the Bahamas and softened his thick island accent to rise to the top of his profession at a time when prominent roles for Black actors were rare.
For a Black actor in the 50s, finding complex roles was difficult. Poitier told Oprah,
“(Blacks) were so new in Hollywood.
There was almost no frame of reference for us except as stereotypical, one-dimensional characters. I had in mind what was expected of me — not just what other Blacks expected but what my mother and father expected.
And what I expected of myself.”
Poitier won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1963 for his performance in Lilies of the Field, and received acclaim for his roles in In the Heat of the Night, The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Blackboard Jungle.
Poitier also won an Honorary Academy Award in 2002 for his
“remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”
In addition to starring in movies and on Broadway, Poitier was also the Bahamian ambassador to Japan from 1997-2007.
Sidney Poitier was 94.
Sidney Poitier (1927 — 2022) pic.twitter.com/mLudlS6H32— MUBI (@mubi) January 7, 2022