Sidney Poitier, Hollywood’s first big Black movie star, died at the age of 94 after a string of revolutionary roles in the 1950s and 1960s.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper described Poitier, who had both US and Bahamian citizenship, as “an icon, a hero, a mentor, a fighter, and a national treasure” on his official Facebook page.
Trail of acheivements
With 1958’s “The Defiant Ones,” the acclaimed actor became the first Black actor to be nominated for an Academy Award, and six years later, he became the first Black actor to win the best actor Oscar for his portrayal in “Lilies of the Field.”
“A trailblazer who will be lamented by so many for whom he unlocked the very doors of Hollywood,” George Takei, a Star Trek actor, said.
Poitier blended success with a feeling of duty to chose movies that challenged bigotry and stereotypes during a time of racial tension in America in the 1950s and 1960s, including his 1967 hits “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
In 1997, he was appointed as the Bahamas’ ambassador to Japan on a ceremonial basis.
In 2002, Poitier received an honorary Oscar for his “outstanding performances” on the big screen as well as his “dignity, style, and intelligence” off it.
In 2009, Barack Obama presented him with the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper words for Sidney Poitier
“When I learned of Sir Sidney Poitier’s death, I was torn between enormous sadness and a sense of jubilation,” Cooper remarked on Friday.
“Sadness that he wouldn’t be here to tell him how much he meant to us, but joy that he did so much to teach the world that even individuals with the most humble origins can alter the world.”
“He will be sadly missed, but he leaves behind a legacy that will live on forever.”
Poitier had six children, as well as several grandkids and great-grandchildren, with his second wife Joanna, whom he married in 1976.