An amazing American and Bahamian actor, Sidney Poitier, was born on February (20, 1927- january 6, 2022). He was also Film director and diplomat. Sidney won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 and became the first black Actor and first Bahamian to win this Award.

Sidney, was the recipient of two, Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Grammy Award, as well as nomination for two Emmy Awards and a Tony Awards. In year 1999, he ranked among one of the “American Film Institute’S 100 Stars”. Sidney is one of the last surviving Actor from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.  

Sidney was expectedly born in Miami, Florida  his family lived in The Bahamas, then still a Crown Colony, while they were visiting, which surprisingly granted him U. S. Citizenship. Sidney, grew up in the Bahamas, but moved to Miami when he became 15 year old, and to New York, when he became 16.

Sidney studied at American Negro Theatre, landing his breakthrough character as a high school student in the film, Blackboard Jungle In year 1955. Sidney rise to fame after his character, The Defiant Ones in 1958, for which he made history becoming the first American to won an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination.

He won the Silver Bear for Best Actor for his amazing performance. Sidney has received the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in year 1964, for Lilies Of The Field in 1963.

Sidney also won acclaim for Porgy and Bess in 1959, A Raisin In The Sun in 1961, and A Patch Of Blue In 1965, because of his hard portrayal as epic African American male characters. In 1967 , he continued to break ground in 3 successful movies of 1967 which dealt with issues of race and race connecting, To Sir, With Love, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and In The Heat Of The Night, after winning Golden globe and BAFTA Award nomination.IMAGE SOURCE GOOGLEHe also directed numerous films like; A Warm December in 1973, Uptown Saturday Night in 1974, and Stir Crazy in 1980. Later starring in Shoot To Kill in 1988, and Sneakers in 1992.q

In 1974, he was granted a Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth ll. He got honored by the Golden globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1982, the Kennedy Center Honor in 1995, Screen actors Guild Life Achievements Award in year 1999, and the Honoary Academy Award in year 2002.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in year 2009. Sidney received the BAFTA AWARD fellowship for his outstanding lifetime achievement in film in 2016. He was the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007.

Sidney was the youngest kid of his 7 siblings. His mom and dad, Evelyn and Reginald James Poitier, Afro-Bahamian farmers who owned a farm on Cat Island. His family would travel to Miami to sell tomatoes and some other goods to wholesalers. His father was a Cab Driver in Nassau.

Sidney’s parents went to Miami for their business, and unexpectedly he born in Miami, his birth was 2 months premature, and he was not healthy enough to survive but, his mom and dad remained in Miami for three months for his medical treatment. He grew up in Bahamas, then a British Crown Colony. He has a US Citizenship.

When Sidney turned 10 he lived with his family, on Cat Island, when they moved to Nassau. There he was exposed to modern world, where he saw his first automobile, & first saw the electricity, plumbing, fridge, and motion pictures. He was raised Catholic but after some times he became an Agnostic with views closer to Deism.IMAGE SOURCE GOOGLEWhen Sidney turned 16, he moved to New York, for achieving his goal as an actor, holding a string of jobs as a dishwasher in part times. Due to his inability to fluently reading of script he failed his first audition with the American Negro Theatre. An elderly, Jewish waiter sat with him and taught him every night for so many weeks, helping him to improve his reading by using the newspaper.

While WW ll, in November 1943,, he lied about his age, he was 16 years old and enlisted in the Army. Sidney was selected to a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Northport, New York and was Trained to work with Psychiatric patients.

After, leaving the Army, he worked as a dishwasher until a successful audition get him a role in an American Negro Theatre production, where he failed his 1st audition with. He joined the American Negro Theatre but was rejected by the audience. Against to what was expected of Black actors at that time.

His tone deafness made him not able to sing. In search of acting skills, and rid himself of his noticeable bahamian accent, he worked on himself 6 months to gain theatrical success.

Sidney married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950 to 1965. In 1956, he became a resident of Mount Vernon in Westchester County, NY. Sidney raised their family in Stuyvesant, New York. His apartment was on the Hudson River. He began dating Diahann Carroll in 1959, their relationship last for 9 years.IMAGE SOURCE GOOGLEThen, he married to Joanna Shimkus, a Canadian actress, On January 23, 1976, and they married until his death. They had 4 daughter with his 1st wife, Beverly, Pamela, Sherri and Gina. And two with his 2nd wife, Anika and Sydney Tamiia. Including his six daughters, Poitier had 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Sydney passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, California on January 6, 2022, at age of 94. He died due to Cardiopulmonary failure, with Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer.

After Sidney’s death, many people paid tribute to Sydney, such as, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and so on… calling him a singular talent who epitomized dignity & grace.

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