Actor Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

by The Black Wall Street Times
Sidney Poitier
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African American icon Sidney Poitier, who made a lasting impact on how Black people were portrayed on screen passed on January 6, 2022, at the age of 94 at his home in the Bahamas.

Born to Evelyn and Reginald James Poitier, he was the youngest of seven children.

Sidney first discovered his love for films at the age of 10 when his parents moved their family to Nassau.

Acting Career

He first began acting in the late 1940s with the American Negro Theater in Harlem. By the 1950s, he became a breakout star, landing roles most Black American actors only dreamed of. As a result of his performance in No Way Out, as a doctor treating a Caucasian bigot, he is offered a series of more prominent and interesting roles.

Moreover, Poitier also appeared on Broadway with Ruby Dee in the first production of A Raisin in the Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1959.

Director Richards noted that it was the first play to be well received by largely white Broadway audiences and that it provided details of Black life. The New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in 1983 that A Raisin in the Sun “changed American theatre forever.”


For Lilies of the Field, he became the first Black American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. Additionally, he received a Grammy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a British Academy Film Award. Poitier was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor in 1995 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama.

President Barack Obama and Sidney Poitier

FILE – President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier during ceremonies in the East Room at the White House in Washington on, Aug. 12, 2009. Poitier, the groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw, died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 in the Bahamas. He was 94. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Films of Sidney Poitier include:

“From Whence Cometh Help” (Army documentary), 1949.

“No Way Out,” 1950.

“Cry the Beloved Country,” 1952.

“Red Ball Express,” 1952.

“Go Man Go!,” 1954.

“The Blackboard Jungle,” 1955.

“Goodbye My Lady,” 1956.

“Edge of the City,” 1957.

“Something of Value,” 1957.

“Band of Angles,” 1957.

“The Mark of the Hawk,” 1958.

“The Defiant Ones,” 1958.

“Porgy and Bess,” 1959.

“All the Young Men,” 1960.

“Virgin Island,” 1960.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” 1961.

“Paris Blues,” 1961.

“Pressure Point,” 1962.

“Lilies of the Field,” 1963.

“The Long Ships,” 1964.

“The Greatest Story Ever Told,” 1965.

“The Bedford Incident,” 1965.

“A Patch of Blue,” 1965.

“The Slender Thread,” 1965.

“Duel at Diabolo,” 1966.

“In the Heat of the Night,” 1967.

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