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OPRAH WINFREY, BARACK OBAMA, KATHY GRIFFIN, MORGAN FREEMAN & MORE PAY TRIBUTE TO TRAILBLAZING ACTOR, SIDNEY POITIER
Friday, Jan 7, 2022

The world is mourning another huge loss in Hollywood royalty. Sidney Poitier, the first black and Bahamian man to win an Oscar, has passed away. He was 94-years-old. Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis made the announcement this morning, honoring Poiter as a civil rights activist, humanitarian, and more.

“My dear friends, it is with great sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of Sir. Sidney Poitier,” Davis shared. “The boy who moved from the tomato farm on Cat Island, to moving and becoming a waiter in the United States, a young man who not only taught himself to read and write but who made words and thoughts and feelings central to his career. The man who expressed his rage against racial injustice through quiet dignity. The humanitarian, who used a steely determination, to not just better himself, but better the world he lived in.”

Sidney Poitier during 2006 Cannes Film Festival – Opening Night Gala and World Premiere of “The Da Vinci Code” – Arrivals at Palais de Festival in Cannes, France, France. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

 

The Bahamian-bred actor moved to New York City at 16-years-old with his sights set on acting. While working as a janitor at the American Negro Theater, a passionate Poitier exchanged his duties for free acting classes which paid off after making his film debut in No Way Out in (1950), followed by Blackboard Jungle in 1955. He would later land leading roles in films such as the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-winning The Defiant Ones (1958), which earned him nine Oscar nominations. However, it wasn’t until he starred in Lilies of the Field (1963) that he won his first Oscar and broke the record as the first black man to receive the honor as Best Actor in that category. Some of his other significant works—which were mostly centered around racial injustice, donning him a cinematic civil rights activist—include Porgy and Bess (1959), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, To Sir, With Love, all in 1967, along with many, many more.

Actor Sidney Poitier (left) holding his Best Supporting Actor for the film ‘Lilies of the Field’, attending the Governors Ball after the 36th Academy Awards, Los Angeles, April 13th 1964. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

 

Oprah Winfrey, Jeffrey Wright, Kathy Griffin, Barack Obama, Viola Davis, and more took to social media to pay homage to the fallen barrier-breaking icon.

 

 

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Sidney Poitier leaves behind his wife of almost 46 years, Joanna Shimkus, six children including actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier, and a host of dear family members and friends. We’re sending our warmest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Sidney Poitier, and may his legacy live in our hearts forever.

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