The world has lost another iconic figure.
Legendary actor, director, and activist Sir Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94. Born in Miami of Bahamian descent, his passing was confirmed by the Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.
Poiter was a trailblazer in Hollywood when racism was at its most prevalent. He was the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for his stellar performance in 1964’s Lillies In The Field. Other films on his impressive resume include Porgy and The Bees, A Raisin In The Sun, In The Heat of The Night, To Sir With Love, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and The Defiant Ones.
When talk of Poitier being “typecast” as the “sanity Negro” began to float around, the beloved actor decided it was time to step from in front of the camera to behind it. He directed films like Stir Crazy starring the late Richard Pryor and the buddy action crime comedy Let’s Do It Again with his friend Bill Cosby. Poitier also starred in the film alongside the embattled actor/comedian.
Poitier’s accomplishments and contributions to the world were recognized numerous times. In 2002 he was presented with an honorary award at the Oscars. In 2009, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama, and in 2010, he was presented with the 20th AFI Lifetime Achievement award.
Poitier’s physical presence no longer remains, but he will live forever through his art. Thank you, Mr. Poitier, for allowing many to see themselves on television and movie screens in many roles that Blacks wouldn’t have been given at the time.
You can peep reactions to his passing in the gallery below.
Photo: LEE CELANO / Getty