- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- American-Bahamian actor
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.’”
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.”
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
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) January 7, 2022
Other tributes poured in online...
Sir #SidneyPoitier, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible.
📸: Mathieu Bitton pic.twitter.com/Y0agy7P7Gg
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love.
(📷Sam Falk/NYT) pic.twitter.com/5ZaKxxPdxw
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 7, 2022
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sidney Poitier, the legendary actor, director and diplomat who led a life of remarkable achievements, both on-screen and off. pic.twitter.com/g0M2wfmq2M
— BFI (@BFI) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Oscar, has died at the age of 94. The star of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “Lilies of the Field,” for which he won Best Actor, was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he opened the very doors of Hollywood.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier. An absolute legend. One of the greats. pic.twitter.com/jd2Xd7vmIJ
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) January 7, 2022
This is a monumental loss. Sidney Poitier is quite literally the reason why I wanted to become an artist. Almost everyone I know has heard about the time I met him and embarrassed myself. There are very few people that I quake in the presence of. Rest easy, GOAT. #sidneypoitierpic.twitter.com/RCQX6NYFQP
— Keith Powell (@KeithPowell) January 7, 2022
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier - best of the best RIP pic.twitter.com/QEDLmfaHIH
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) January 7, 2022
— Sanjeev Bhaskar💙 (@TVSanjeev) January 7, 2022
RIP Sidney Poitier. What a superb actor he was. He was 94 years young ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dZLWZHvIKp
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) January 7, 2022
RIP Sidney Poitier, 94.
When he answered an ad for actors, as an illiterate young man, the theatre owner sneered: ‘Go be a dishwasher.’
Sidney already was a dishwasher.
Stung by the jibe, he vowed to prove him wrong.
He became the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar. pic.twitter.com/JNpBWi8nwk
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 7, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.