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Hollywood's first iconic Black movie actor Sidney Poitier dies at 94 Sidney Poitier
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Hollywood's first iconic Black movie actor Sidney Poitier dies at 94

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 08 Jan 2022, 09:32 am

Los Angeles: Hollywood actor Sidney Poitier, who was the first major Black movie star to gain popularity for his performances in some iconic films, died on Friday.

He was 94.

The Hollywood star's death was confirmed to the BBC by the office of Fred Mitchell, the Bahamas' minister of foreign affairs.

The actor had won the Academy Award for best actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963.

US President Joe Biden remembered him and said: "The son of tomato farmers in the Bahamas, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor — but the trail he blazed extended leaps and bounds beyond his background or profession. Jill and I send our love and prayers to his loved ones."

Former US President Barack Obama praised him and tweeted: "Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans."

TV personality Oprah Winfrey said: "For me the greatest of the 'Great Trees' has fallen."

Poitier's entire family lived in the Bahamas, then still a British colony, but he was born unexpectedly in Miami while they were visiting for the weekend, which automatically granted him U.S. citizenship. He grew up in the Bahamas, but moved to Miami at age 15, and to New York City when he was 16.

He joined the American Negro Theater, landing his breakthrough film role as a high school student in the film Blackboard Jungle (1955).

Poitier was granted a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

He is best remembered for his performances in movies like Porgy and Bess,  A Raisin in the Sun, A Patch of Blue, among others.