Legendary Actor Sidney Poitier Dead at 94

Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Academy Award, has died.

He was 94.

via The Independent:

The Hollywood star was known for films including Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and Lilies of the Field, for which he became the first Black man to win a Best Actor Oscar.

The news was announced by Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, prompting tributes.

Bahamian-American star Poitier was automatically granted US citizenship after being unexpectedly born in Miami while his parents were visiting. He grew up in the Bahamas but moved to American when he was 15, scoring his first lead film role in 1955’s Blackboard Jungle.

His first brush with award nominations came with The Defiant Ones (1958), which saw him nominated for Best Actor alongside co-star Tony Curtis.

Six years later, he historically won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field.

Denzel Washington praised Poitier when he became the second Black man to win Best Actor for 2001 film Training Day, saying: “I’ll always be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps. There’s nothing I would rather do, sir.”

At the same ceremony, Poitier received an Honorary Academy Award for his contribution to American cinema.

In an interview published on Thursday (6 January), Washington told Variety he would have loved to have starred in a film with Poitier, who retired from acting in 2001.

RIP to a Hollywood icon.

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