Leading actor and Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94. The Bahamian American star was the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. He received it in 1964 for his role in the movie field lilies.
Poitier’s breakthrough came in the late 1950s with films like Porgy and Bass (1959) in Challengers (1958). Known for being a pioneer, his presence as a black man in mainstream Hollywood films was groundbreaking.
In many of the films in which Poitier starred, racial discrimination was the main theme. Perhaps in his most famous films, Guess who’s coming to dinner In 1967, he played the future son-in-law of a white couple.
In that film, he became the first black actor in a Hollywood movie to kiss a white woman, even though the scene was filmed through a taxi’s rear-view mirror. In the same year came the thriller In the heat of the night uit, where Poitier had to contend with a racist sheriff from the South as an investigator from the Northern United States.
Poitier was considered the world’s highest-paid actor in the late 1960s. He has also succeeded as a director with films such as his debut The antelope and the preacher (1972) in Let’s do it again (1975). He also played one of the main roles in those films. In 2002, Poitier was once again awarded the Academy Award, an honorary award for his “outstanding performance, unique appearance on the silver screen, style and intelligence as a representative of the film industry”. In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Poitier the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award for American citizens.
sad and happy
The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Chester Cooper, says he is “very sad” about his passing, but also feels somehow happy. “Sad that he is gone and we cannot tell him how much he means to us, but we are also happy that he did so much to show the world that even people with a simple start in life can change the world. The world’s prime minister said he lost an ‘icon and hero’ in Poitiers Watchman.
Poitier was born “by chance” in Miami on February 20, 1927. His parents lived on Cat Island, one of the Bahamas, but they were visiting Miami. So the actor almost immediately received Bahamian and American citizenship.
His father was a poor tomato collector, and Poitier had to drop out of school when he was thirteen. After taking odd jobs as a peddler and a military medical assistant, he auditioned for the American Negro Theater in New York. He was initially rejected due to his Bahamian accent, but was accepted after speaking lessons.
In addition to being an actor and director, Poitier has also been active as an ambassador. Between 1997 and 2007, he was the ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan. He left behind six daughters.
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