Sidney Poitier, Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies Aged 94

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  • Sidney Poitier
    Sidney Poitier
    American-Bahamian actor
Sidney Poitier pictured in 2014 (Photo: Mark Sullivan via Getty Images)
Sidney Poitier pictured in 2014 (Photo: Mark Sullivan via Getty Images)

Oscar-winning star Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94.

The actor, director and activist was the first Black and Bahamian man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963 for his role in Lilies of the Field.

He was also known for appearing films including Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, In the Heat Of The Night.

News of Sidney’s death was announced by the Bahamas’ minister of foreign affairs Fred Mitchell on Friday (via BBC News).

No further details about his death were immediately available.

Best known for his work during the 50s and 60s, Sidney helped pave the way for generations of Black actors.

“I had a sense of responsibility not only to myself and to my time, but certainly to the people I represented,” he said in 2008. “So I was charged with a responsibility to represent them in ways that they would see and say, ‘OK, I like that.’”

Sidney Poitier with his Best Actor Oscar (Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images)
Sidney Poitier with his Best Actor Oscar (Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images)

Over his career, he was repeatedly the “first” – he became the first Black man to win an international film award at the Venice Film Festival in 1957; the first to be nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards in 1958 for his performance in The Defiant Ones, for which he also won a Bafta. He then went on to take home the history-making Oscar for Lilies Of The Field five years later.

His breakthrough screen role came in 1955, with is other acting credits including Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, Paris Blues and To Sir, With Love.

Sidney also went on to work as a director on various comedy films including Stir Crazy, starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

Whoopi Goldberg was among the stars who paid tribute to Sidney on social media.

She quoted the lyrics to the song To Sir With Love, which soundtracked his 1967 film.

She said: “If you wanted the sky i would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high.. To Sir… with Love. Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars.”

Other tributes poured in online...

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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