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Tributes Pour In For The Legendary Sidney Poitier

The well respected, award-winning Bahamian-American actor and film director passed away at the age of 94

The entertainment industry is mourning the loss of a legend: Sir Sidney Poitier, who passed away on January 6 at the age of 94 at his home in Los Angeles, California. His death was confirmed by Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas.


Known as a trailblazing actor and film director, Poitier had humble beginnings in the field, starting out in theater. His foray into mainstream was kicked off by a stint in the 1950 American film noir No Way Out,  which consequently paved the way for more acting opportunities. He had since established an illustrious career, with films like The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun, Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue, and In the Heat of the Night earning him several acting awards and nominations.

 

Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier | Photo via @mariahcarey
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He made history as the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963); it’s a project that also earned him the same recognition at the Golden Globe Awards. Adding to his long list of awards is the Best Spoken Word Album recognition he received for The Measure of a Man from the Grammy Awards in 2001. Poitier also received several honorary awards that recognized his unparalleled contributions and accomplishments as an artist, including the honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire given by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the then US President Barack Obama in 2009. Along with his success, he ultimately helped clear the path for more Black actors to make a name for themselves in the field of entertainment.


At the 2009 awarding with Obama, Poitier was described as: “Ambassador and actor, Sidney Poitier has left an indelible mark on American culture. Rising from the tomato farms of the Bahamas, his talent led him to Broadway, Hollywood, and global acclaim. In front of black and white audiences struggling to right the nation’s moral compass, Sidney Poitier brought us the common tragedy of racism, the inspiring possibility of reconciliation, and the simple joys of everyday life. Ultimately, the man would mirror the character, and both would advance the nation’s dialogue on race and respect.”


For more than six decades, Poitier dedicated his life to his artistry, even maximizing his influence through diplomatic service. But for those who had a chance to meet and work with him, he was much more than an icon in the entertainment industry, he was a friend, a mentor, and a man respected and loved by many.



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Below, celebrities and personalities paid tribute to Sidney Poitier:


Oprah Winfrey


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Joseph Gordon-Levitt



Morgan Freeman



Elijah Wood


Lead photos from @oprah , @willsmith, and @halleberry on Instagram and @morgan_freeman on Twitter