/ 10 January 2022

Vale Sidney Poitier

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

It was confirmed on Saturday that the revered actor died on Thursday night at his home in Los Angeles at 94yo – no cause was given. Poitier, who was American-born but grew up in the Bahamas, was the first black man to win best actor at the Academy Awards. That happened in 1963 for his turn in Lilies of the Field – right at the time when the civil rights movement was beginning to make headway in the US. And he was hugely successful – during that period, Poitier was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood up there with Paul Newman and John Wayne. But the roles available to him were more limited than white actors, and he talked about wanting the opportunity to play “more dimensional” characters if only “the fabric of the society were different”. What Poitier did was blaze a trail for others – although it took until 2002 for the next black man, Denzel Washington, to claim the Oscar for best actor. “He opened doors for all of us,” said Washington about his friend.

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