Trailblazing Actor Sidney Poitier Dies At 94

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  • Sidney Poitier has passed away at the age of 94.
  • He was best known for being an actor and helping the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
  • Later in life, he became an ambassador for his home country of the Bahamas as well as a director and producer.

 

Actor and activist Sidney Poitier has passed away at the age of 94. He was an actor best known for his roles in In The Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner. Sidney was also the first male Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. While he worked as an actor, director, and producer, he was also a voice for civil rights and ambassador for his home country of the Bahamas.

While his work was trailblazing and iconic, it was always easy. He moved to New York City at the age of 16 and worked as a dishwasher before enlisting in the Army during World War II. After he left the Army, he got into the American Negro Theatre, eventually finding roles on Broadway and in films. His career truly began in the ’50s. One of his first big roles was in The Defiant Ones where he earned a nomination for Best Picture.

Actor Sidney Poitier died at 94 years old

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, Sidney Poitier, 1967
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, Sidney Poitier, 1967 / Everett Collection

When Sidney became famous in the ’60s, he used his fame to fight for civil rights, often with fellow actor and friend Harry Belafonte. They helped to organize the March on Washington in 1964, which featured Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

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TO SIR WITH LOVE II, Sidney Poitier,
TO SIR WITH LOVE II, Sidney Poitier, (aired April 7, 1996), 1996. ph: Tony Esparza / ©CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

In the ’70s, he focused more on directing and producing films like Uptown Saturday Night and A Piece of Action. Later in life, he focused on helping his home country of the Bahamas and became the ambassador of the Bahamas to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

President Obama hugs Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House East Room
President Obama hugs Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House East Room. Aug. 12 2009., Photo by: Everett Collection(BSLOC_2011_7_39)

Sidney received the Presidental Medal of Freedom in 2009. In his personal life, he was married twice. He is survived by his wife Joanna Shimkus and his six children.

RELATED: Inside The 45-Year Marriage Of Golden Age Actor Sidney Poitier And Joanna Shimkus

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The post Trailblazing Actor Sidney Poitier Dies At 94 appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Lauren Novak

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