Groundbreaking leading man Sidney Poitier died this past Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 94. Poitier was the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor, for the 1963 movie “Lilies of the Field”.
He was also given an honorary Academy Award in 2002.
Sidney’s other films included “Blackboard Jungle”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, “The Defiant Ones”, “In the Heat of the Night”, “To Sir with Love”, and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.
He was also the first Black actor to become the top box office draw.
In the ’70s, he became a director, with films like “Uptown Saturday Night”, “Let’s Do It Again”, and “A Piece of the Action”. In 1990, he directed Cosby in the box office flop “Ghost Dad”.
He also did “Stir Crazy”, starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, and “Hanky Panky” with Wilder and Gilda Radner.
He resumed acting in the late ’80s, and his last credited role was a 2001 TV movie called “The Last Brickmaker in America”.
Sidney’s longtime friend, 94-year-old Harry Belafonte, said, “For over 80 years, Sidney and I laughed, cried and made as much mischief as we could.
“He was truly my brother and partner in trying to make this world a little better. He certainly made mine a whole lot better.”
Martin Luther King The Third said, “Sidney Poitier’s impact on Hollywood can’t be understated.
“His deliberate choice to not take roles based on racial stereotypes allowed many Black Americans to see themselves truly reflected on the big screen. Today, we celebrate the legacy of a legend.”
— TIME (@TIME) January 10, 2022