Oscar-winning actor and activist Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94
(CNN) –– Clint Watson, spokeswoman for the Bahamas’ prime minister, confirmed to CNN that Oscar-winning actor and civil rights activist Sidney Poitier had died at the age of 94.
Poitier died late Thursday, Watson said, citing direct family members in the Bahamas.
Watson said the country’s prime minister, Philip Davis, would hold a press conference later on Friday.
The beautiful demeanor and principled characters he portrayed made Poetry the first black star in Hollywood. In fact, he was the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. Lilies of the field, And second to win an Academy Award. The first winner of the Best Supporting Actress award was Hottie McDonnell Went with the wind.
Five years ago, in 1959, he became the first black American to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for a Motion Picture. Opponents.
At a time when lead roles for black actors were scarce, Poitier rose to the pinnacle of his career, overcoming a poor Bahamian background and a heavy island accent.
Many of his popular films explored racial tensions as Americans struggled with social change through the civil rights movement. Only in 1967 did he appear as a Philadelphia detective fighting sectarianism in the small town of Mississippi. In the heat of the night And as a doctor who beats his white fiance’s suspicious parents Guess who is coming for dinner.
Poitier’s films were difficult to distribute in the South, and he only chose what roles white-led studios would produce. For example, racial barriers kept him away from most romantic areas. But their decent roles helped audiences in the 1950s and 1960s imagine not only blacks but also doctors, teachers, and detectives.
At the same time, the only black lead in Hollywood in the 1960s, he was the subject of the greatest scrutiny. Often he was hailed as the noblest symbol of his race and endured criticism from some blacks who claimed he had betrayed them by appeasing whites.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” Poitier told Oprah Winfrey in 2000. “I accepted it. I lived to show how I value that responsibility. I had to do it. For others to come after me, they were there. Some things he had to do.”
In 2001, he won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Album for “The Measure of a Men”. One year later he won the Honorary Academy Award for “recognizing his remarkable achievements as an artist and human being.”
Then, in 2009, then-President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal for Freedom.
The life of Sidney Poitier beyond cinema
He grew up on Gate Island in the Bahamas. The family later emigrated to NASA, but his parents sent him to live with relatives in Miami when he was 14 years old. After a meeting with the Gu Klux Klan, he left Miami at the age of 16 and moved to New York.
He lied about his age and joined the army at the age of 16. He pretended to be suffering from insanity for being discharged nine months later, and later admitted to cheating in his book, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Biography.
His stern Bahamian accent and limited reading skills earned him an acting job at the American Negro Theater in Harlem. He improved his reading ability by following radio announcers and reading newspapers beyond his accent.
He was a dual citizen of the United States and the Bahamas.
In fact, Poitier was the Bahamian ambassador to Japan between 1997 and 2007.