Legendary Actor Sidney Poitier Dead at 94
The groundbreaking performer was the first Black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor
Oscar-winning actor and civil rights activist Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94, according to Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell. No cause of death has been announced yet, but Philip Brave Davis, the Prime Minster of the Bahamas, is expected to give a press conference about Poitier’s death on Friday.
Poitier was a groundbreaking performer who broke color barriers throughout his career, becoming the first Black actor to receive a nomination in the Academy Awards’ Best Actor category for his performance in 1959’s The Defiant Ones. (He also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for that role.) In 1963, he broke more boundaries by becoming the first Black man to win a Best Actor Oscar with his performance in Lilies of the Field.
In 1967, he had a massive year, starring in three iconic films, all of which confronted racism — To Sir, with Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night. In 1981, he received the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. Demille Award for his “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” and in 1995 he received the Kennedy Center Honor. He was honored with a Honorary Academy Award for his lifetime of achievement in 2001, and in 2009 President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Outside of his acting career, Poitier was a tireless advocate for civil rights, and he served as Bahamian Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007. He is survived by his wife Joanna and his six daughters.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.
Suggested for you