Sidney Poitier
Overview
Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE
(icon or ˈ; born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 actor, film director, author, and diplomat.

In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films To Sir, with Love
To Sir, with Love
To Sir, With Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite.The film's title song...

; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn, and featuring Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton...

, making him the top box office star of that year.
Encyclopedia
Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE
(icon or ˈ; born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 actor, film director, author, and diplomat.

In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films To Sir, with Love
To Sir, with Love
To Sir, With Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite.The film's title song...

; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn, and featuring Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton...

, making him the top box office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars
Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars is a list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of American cinema, 25 male and 25 female...

, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.

Poitier has directed a number of popular movies such as A Piece of the Action
A Piece of the Action (film)
A Piece of the Action is a 1977 comedy crime film starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. Poitier also directed the film. This was the third film pairing of Poitier and Cosby following Uptown Saturday Night and Let's Do It Again, and Poiter's last acting role for more than 10 years, as he focused...

; Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night is a 1974 comedy film written by Richard Wesley, and directed by Sidney Poitier. Poitier also stars in this film, along with Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte. Cosby and Poitier teamed up again for Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action...

, and Let's Do It Again
Let's Do It Again (1975 film)
Let's Do It Again is a 1975 film starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker. Poitier also directed. The film is about blue-collar workers who decide to rig a boxing match to raise money for their fraternal lodge...

(with friend Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the...

), and Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy (film)
Stir Crazy is a 1980 American comedy film starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as down-on-their-luck friends who are given 125-year prison sentences after being framed for a bank robbery; while in prison they befriend other inmates and ultimately escape. In 2000, Total Film magazine voted it the...

(starring Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets...

 and Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

). In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 to receive an Honorary Award
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

, designated "To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being." Since 1997 he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

.

Early life

Poitier was born in Miami, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, in Coconut Grove, where his Bahamian
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 parents, Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, traveled to sell tomatoes and other produce from their farm on Cat Island. His birth was premature and he was not expected to survive, but his parents remained three months in Miami to nurse him to health. Due to his stateside delivery, he automatically gained U.S. citizenship. Poitier was raised in a Catholic family. He grew up with his family on Cat Island, The Bahamas
Cat Island (Bahamas)
Cat Island is in the central Bahamas, and one of its districts, and has the nation's highest point. Its Mount Alvernia rises to 206 ft and is topped by a monastery called The Hermitage. This assembly of buildings was erected by the Franciscan "Brother Jerome" .The first European settlers were...

, then a British colony. At age 10, he moved to Nassau
Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 , 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas...

 with his family. At the age of 15 he was sent to Miami to live with his brother. At the age of 17, he moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and held a string of menial jobs. He then decided to join the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 after which he worked as a dishwasher until a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theater
American Negro Theater
The American Negro Theater was formed in Harlem on June 5, 1940 by writer Abram Hill and actor Frederick O'Neal. It produced 19 plays before closing in 1949. Designed as a community theater group, performances were held in Harlem's Schomburg Library. In 1942, ANT began its Studio Theatre training...

.

Acting career

Poitier joined the American Negro Theater, but was rejected by audiences. Contrary to what was expected of black actors at the time, Poitier's tone deafness made him unable to sing. Determined to refine his acting skills and rid himself of his noticeable Bahamian accent, he spent the next six months dedicating himself to achieving theatrical success. On his second attempt at the theater, he was noticed and given a leading role in the Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 production Lysistrata
Lysistrata
Lysistrata is one of eleven surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War...

, for which he received good reviews. By the end of 1949, he had to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck
Darryl F. Zanuck
Darryl Francis Zanuck was an American producer, writer, actor, director and studio executive who played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors...

 in the film No Way Out
No Way Out (1950 film)
No Way Out is a black-and-white film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, and Sidney Poitier...

(1950). His performance in No Way Out, as a doctor treating a white bigot, was noticed and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and more prominent than those most black actors of the time were offered. Poitier's breakout role was as a member of an incorrigible high school class in Blackboard Jungle
Blackboard Jungle
Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 social commentary film about teachers in an inner-city school. It is based on the novel of the same name by Evan Hunter.-Plot:...

(1955).

Poitier was the first male black actor to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award (for The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones is a 1958 drama film which tells the story of two escaped prisoners, one white and one black, who are shackled together and who must co-operate in order to survive. It stars Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Cara Williams, Charles McGraw, and Lon Chaney, Jr...

, 1958). He was also the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 (for Lilies of the Field in 1963). (James Baskett
James Baskett
James Baskett was an American actor known for his portrayal of Uncle Remus, singing the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" in the 1946 Disney feature film Song of the South, for which he was given an Honorary Academy Award, making him the first male performer of African descent to receive an Oscar.- Career...

 was the first to receive an Oscar, an Honorary Academy Award for his performance as Uncle Remus in the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 production of Song of the South
Song of the South
Song of the South is a 1946 American musical film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film is based on the Uncle Remus cycle of stories by Joel Chandler Harris. The live actors provide a sentimental frame story, in which Uncle Remus relates the folk tales of the...

in 1948
1948 in film
The year 1948 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Laurence Olivier's Hamlet becomes the first British film to win the American Academy Award for Best Picture.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :...

, while Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind ....

 predated them both, winning as Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 for her role in 1939's Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

).

He acted in the first production of A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959. The title comes from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes...

on Broadway in 1959, and later starred in the film version released in 1961. He also gave memorable performances in The Bedford Incident
The Bedford Incident
The Bedford Incident is a 1965 British-American Cold War film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, and co-produced by Richard Widmark. The cast also features James MacArthur, Martin Balsam, Wally Cox and Eric Portman, as well as early appearances by Donald Sutherland and Ed Bishop...

(1965), and A Patch of Blue
A Patch of Blue
A Patch of Blue is a 1965 American drama film directed by Guy Green about the relationship between a black man, Gordon , and a blind white female teenager, Selina , and the problems that plague their relationship when they fall in love in a racially divided America...

(1965) co-starring Elizabeth Hartman
Elizabeth Hartman
Mary Elizabeth Hartman was an American actress, best known for her performance in the 1965 film A Patch of Blue, playing a blind girl named Selina D'Arcy, opposite Sidney Poitier, a role for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress and was nominated for the Academy...

 and Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters was an American actress who appeared in dozens of films, as well as on stage and television; her career spanned over 50 years until her death in 2006...

. In 1967, he was the most successful draw at the box office, the commercial peak of his career, with three successful films, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn, and featuring Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton...

; To Sir, with Love
To Sir, with Love
To Sir, With Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite.The film's title song...

and In the Heat of the Night. The last film featured his most successful character, Virgil Tibbs
Virgil Tibbs
Virgil Tibbs is a fictional character who is one of the two leading male characters in John Ball's 1965 novel In the Heat of the Night. He is also the protagonist in six sequels to that novel, the Oscar-winning 1967 film of the same name based on the original novel, the sequel films They Call Me...

, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, detective whose subsequent career was the subject of two sequels: They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!
They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!
They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! is a 1970 film; a sequel to In the Heat of the Night . Sidney Poitier reprised his role of police detective Virgil Tibbs, though in this sequel, Tibbs is working for the San Francisco Police rather than the Philadelphia Police or the Pasadena Police .-Plot:The plot...

(1970) and The Organization
The Organization (film)
The Organization is a 1971 film starring Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs. It was the last of the trilogy featuring the police detective Tibbs that had begun with In the Heat of the Night . In it Tibbs is called in to hunt down a gang of urban revolutionaries, suspected of a series of crimes...

(1971).

Poitier began to be criticized for being typecast as over-idealized black characters who were not permitted to have any sexuality or personality faults, such as his character in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Poitier was aware of this pattern himself, but was conflicted on the matter: he wanted more varied roles, but also felt obliged to set a good example with his characters to defy previous stereotypes, as he was the only major black actor in the American film industry at the time. In 2001, Poitier received an Honorary Academy Award for his overall contribution to American cinema.

Directorial career

Poitier directed several films, the most successful being the Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets...

-Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder is an American stage and screen actor, director, screenwriter, and author.Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers...

 comedy Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy (film)
Stir Crazy is a 1980 American comedy film starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as down-on-their-luck friends who are given 125-year prison sentences after being framed for a bank robbery; while in prison they befriend other inmates and ultimately escape. In 2000, Total Film magazine voted it the...

which for years was the highest grossing film directed by a person of African descent. His feature film directorial debut was the western Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher is a 1972 American Western film starring Sidney Poitier as Buck and Harry Belafonte as the Preacher. Buck is a trail guide leading groups of former slaves trying to homestead in the West, immediately after the American Civil War. The Preacher is a swindling minister of the...

in which Poitier also starred, alongside Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte
Harold George "Harry" Belafonte, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist. He was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s...

. Poitier replaced original director Joseph Sargent
Joseph Sargent
Joseph Sargent is an American film director. He has directed many television movies, but his best known feature film works are probably White Lightning, MacArthur, Nightmares and Jaws: The Revenge, with his most popular film being The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. He has won four Emmy Awards...

. The trio of Poitier, Cosby, and Belafonte reunited again (with Poitier again directing) in Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night is a 1974 comedy film written by Richard Wesley, and directed by Sidney Poitier. Poitier also stars in this film, along with Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte. Cosby and Poitier teamed up again for Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action...

. Poitier also directed Cosby in Let's Do It Again
Let's Do It Again (1975 film)
Let's Do It Again is a 1975 film starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker. Poitier also directed. The film is about blue-collar workers who decide to rig a boxing match to raise money for their fraternal lodge...

, A Piece of the Action
A Piece of the Action (film)
A Piece of the Action is a 1977 comedy crime film starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. Poitier also directed the film. This was the third film pairing of Poitier and Cosby following Uptown Saturday Night and Let's Do It Again, and Poiter's last acting role for more than 10 years, as he focused...

, and Ghost Dad
Ghost Dad
As part of the publicity for the movie, a Ghost Dad novelization written by Mel Cebulash was released the year of the film's debut.-Critical reaction:...

. Poitier also directed the first popular dance battle movie Fast Forward
Fast Forward (1985 film)
Fast Forward is a 1985 dance film directed by Sidney Poitier. In the film, a dance troup from Ohio comes to New York to compete in a national talent competition.-Plot synopsis:...

in 1985.

From 1998 to 2003 he served as a Member of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company.

Diplomatic career

In April 1997, Poitier was appointed Ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 of the Bahamas to Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, a position he currently holds. He is also the Ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

.

Personal life

Poitier was first married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950 until 1965. He has been married to Joanna Shimkus, a Canadian-born former actress of Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n descent, since January 23, 1976. He has four daughters with his first wife and two with his second: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Gina, Anika, Sydney Tamiia
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Sydney Tamiia Poitier is an American actress known for her work on television.- Biography :Sydney is the daughter of famous Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier....

.

Honours and awards

  • 1958 British Academy Film Award for Best Foreign Actor for The Defiant Ones
  • 1958 Silver Bear for Best Actor
    Silver Bear for Best Actor
    The Silver Bear for Best Actor is the Berlin International Film Festival's award for achievement in performance by an actor.- Awards :- External links :*...

     (Berlin Film Festival
    8th Berlin International Film Festival
    The 8th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from June 27 to July 8, 1958.-Jury:* Frank Capra * J. Novais Teixeira* Jean Marais* Paul Rotha* L. B. Rao* Duilio Coletti* Michiko Tanaka* Gerhard T...

    ) for The Defiant Ones
  • 1963 Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Lilies of the Field
  • 1963 Golden Globe Award
    Golden Globe Award
    The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

     for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
    Golden Globe Award
    The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

     for Lilies of the Field
  • 1963 Silver Bear for Best Actor
    Silver Bear for Best Actor
    The Silver Bear for Best Actor is the Berlin International Film Festival's award for achievement in performance by an actor.- Awards :- External links :*...

     (Berlin Film Festival
    13th Berlin International Film Festival
    The 13th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 21 June to 2 July 1963.-Jury:* Wendy Toye * Harry R. Sokal* Fernando Ayala* Jean-Pierre Melville* B. R...

    ) for Lilies of the Field
  • 1974 Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Order of the British Empire
    The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

     (KBE)
  • 1992 AFI Life Achievement Award
    AFI Life Achievement Award
    The AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute on February 26, 1973 to honor a single individual for his or her lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television....

  • 1995 Kennedy Center Honors
    Kennedy Center Honors
    The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

  • 1997 Appointed non-resident Bahamian Ambassador
    Ambassador
    An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

     to Japan
  • 1999 SAG Life Achievement Award
    Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award
    The Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award is given by the Screen Actors Guild's National Honors and Tributes Committee "for outstanding achievement in fostering the finest ideals of the acting profession." The award predates the 1st Screen Actors Guild Awards by over thirty years, having been...

  • 2000 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
    NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
    The NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special:...

     for The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn
  • 2001 NAACP Image Award - Hall of Fame Award
    NAACP Image Award - Hall of Fame Award
    The NAACP Image Award winners for the Hall of Fame Award:...

  • 2001
    Grammy Awards of 2001
    The 43rd Grammy Awards were held on February 21, 2001. Steely Dan was the biggest winner winning three awards including Album of the Year for Two Against Nature. U2 was also a big winner winning three awards as well; including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Beautiful Day. Dr...

     Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
    Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
    The Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album has been awarded since 1959. The award had several minor name changes:*In 1959 the award was known as Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken Word...

     – Rick Harris
    Rick Harris
    Rick Harris is a former professional wrestler better known by his ring name , Black Bart. He is the son of the late George "Two Ton" Harris.-Career:Rick Harris started wrestling in 1975...

    , John Runnette (producers) and Sidney Poitier for The Measure of a Man
  • 2002 Honorary Oscar
    Academy Honorary Award
    The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

     – "For his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence"
  • 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

  • 2011 Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute
    Film Society of Lincoln Center
    The Film Society of Lincoln Center based in New York City, United States, is one of the world's most prominent film presentation organizations. Founded in 1969 by three Lincoln Center executives - William F. May, Martin E. Segal and Schuyler G...

     honoring his life and career

Actor

Year Title Role Notes
1947 Sepia Cinderella
Sepia Cinderella
Sepia Cinderella is a 1947 American race film directed by Arthur H. Leonard. The film is notable for musical number by vocalist Billy Daniels and for a guest appearance by former child star Freddie Bartholomew.- Plot summary :...

Extra Uncredited
1949 From Whence Cometh My Help Himself Documentary
1950 No Way Out
No Way Out (1950 film)
No Way Out is a black-and-white film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, and Sidney Poitier...

Dr. Luther Brooks
1951 Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country (1951 film)
Cry, the Beloved Country is a 1951 British drama film directed by Zoltán Korda. Based on the novel of the same name by Alan Paton, it stars Canada Lee and Charles Carson.-Selected cast:*Canada Lee as Stephen Kumalo*Charles Carson as James Jarvis...

Reverend Msimangu
1952 Red Ball Express
Red Ball Express (film)
Red Ball Express is a 1952 World War II war film directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Jeff Chandler. The film is based on the real Red Ball Express convoys that took place after the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944...

Cpl. Andrew Robertson
1954 Go, Man, Go!
Go, Man, Go!
Go, Man, Go! is a 1954 sports film starring Dane Clark, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Patricia Breslin and The Harlem Globetrotters. Clark plays Abe Saperstein, the organizer of the Globetrotters. Poitier's character is Inman Jackson, the team's showboating center...

Inman Jackson
1955 Blackboard Jungle
Blackboard Jungle
Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 social commentary film about teachers in an inner-city school. It is based on the novel of the same name by Evan Hunter.-Plot:...

Gregory W. Miller
1956 Good-bye, My Lady
Good-bye, My Lady (film)
Good-bye, My Lady is a 1956 American film adaptation of the novel Good-bye, My Lady by James H. Street. The book had been inspired by Street's original story appearing in The Saturday Evening Post. As written, the story takes place in Mississippi, but was Hollywood changed to the state of Georgia,...

Gates Watson
1957 Edge of the City
Edge of the City
Edge of the City is a 1957 drama film directed by Martin Ritt, starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier. It was Ritt's debut film as a director...

Tommy Tyler Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...

1957 Something of Value
Something of Value
Something Of Value is a 1957 drama directed by Richard Brooks and starring Rock Hudson, Dana Wynter and Sidney Poitier.-Plot:The movie, based on the book of the same name by Robert Ruark, portrays the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. It shows the colonial and native African conflict caused by colonialism...

Kimani Wa Karanja
1957 Band of Angels
Band of Angels
Band of Angels is a 1957 romantic drama film set in the American South before and during the American Civil War, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren. It starred Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo, and Sidney Poitier. The movie was directed by Raoul Walsh.-Plot:Amantha Starr is the...

Rau-Ru
1957 Obam
1958 Virgin Island
Virgin Island (film)
Virgin Island is a 1959 British drama film directed by Pat Jackson and starring John Cassavetes, Virginia Maskell and Sidney Poitier. It is an adaptation of the novel Our Virgin Island by Robb White...

Marcus
1958 Noah Cullen BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...


Silver Bear for Best Actor
Silver Bear for Best Actor
The Silver Bear for Best Actor is the Berlin International Film Festival's award for achievement in performance by an actor.- Awards :- External links :*...


Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...


Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

1959 Porgy and Bess Porgy Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

1960 All the Young Men
All the Young Men
All the Young Men is a 1960 Korean War feature film starring Alan Ladd and Sidney Poitier dealing with desegregation in the United States Marine Corps.-Plot:...

Sgt. Eddie Towler
1961 Walter Lee Younger Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...


Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

1961 Paris Blues
Paris Blues
Paris Blues is an American feature film filmed on location in Paris, starring Sidney Poitier as expatriate jazz musician Eddie Cook, and Paul Newman as trombone-playing Ram Bowen. The two men romance two vacationing American tourists, Connie Lampson and Lillian Corning respectively...

Eddie Cook
1962 Pressure Point
Pressure Point (film)
Pressure Point is a 1962 drama film about a black prison psychiatrist who is called upon to treat a Nazi sympathizer during World War II. It stars Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin. The film was based on the short story "Destiny's Tot" by Robert Lindner....

Doctor (Chief Psychiatrist)
1963 Aly Mansuh
1963 Lilies of the Field Homer Smith Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...


Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...


Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...


Silver Bear for Best Actor
Silver Bear for Best Actor
The Silver Bear for Best Actor is the Berlin International Film Festival's award for achievement in performance by an actor.- Awards :- External links :*...

1965 Ben Munceford
1965 Simon of Cyrene
1965 Gordon Ralfe Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...


Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

1965 Alan Newell
1966 Duel at Diablo
Duel at Diablo
Duel at Diablo is a 1966 western film starring James Garner in his first Western since leaving Maverick and Sidney Poitier in his first Western. Based on Marvin H. Albert's 1957 novel Apache Rising, the film was written by Albert and Michael M. Grilikhes and directed by Ralph Nelson who had...

Toller (contract horse dealer)
1967 To Sir, with Love
To Sir, with Love
To Sir, With Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E. R. Braithwaite.The film's title song...

Mark Thackeray
1967 In the Heat of the Night Det. Virgil Tibbs
Virgil Tibbs
Virgil Tibbs is a fictional character who is one of the two leading male characters in John Ball's 1965 novel In the Heat of the Night. He is also the protagonist in six sequels to that novel, the Oscar-winning 1967 film of the same name based on the original novel, the sequel films They Call Me...

Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.-Superlatives:...


Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

1967 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn, and featuring Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton...

Dr. John Wade Prentice
1968 For Love of Ivy
For Love of Ivy
For Love of Ivy is a 1968 romantic comedy film directed by Daniel Mann. The film stars Sidney Poitier, Abbey Lincoln, Beau Bridges, Nan Martin, Lauri Peters and Carroll O'Connor. The story was written by Sidney Poitier with screenwriter Robert Alan Arthur. The musical score was composed by Quincy...

Jack Parks
1969 Jason Higgs
1970 King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis Narrator documentary
1970 They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!
They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!
They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! is a 1970 film; a sequel to In the Heat of the Night . Sidney Poitier reprised his role of police detective Virgil Tibbs, though in this sequel, Tibbs is working for the San Francisco Police rather than the Philadelphia Police or the Pasadena Police .-Plot:The plot...

Virgil Tibbs
1971 Brother John John Kane
1971 Detective Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs SFPD Homicide
1972 Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher is a 1972 American Western film starring Sidney Poitier as Buck and Harry Belafonte as the Preacher. Buck is a trail guide leading groups of former slaves trying to homestead in the West, immediately after the American Civil War. The Preacher is a swindling minister of the...

Buck
1973 Matt Younger
1974 Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night is a 1974 comedy film written by Richard Wesley, and directed by Sidney Poitier. Poitier also stars in this film, along with Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte. Cosby and Poitier teamed up again for Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action...

Steve Jackson
1975 Shack Twala
1975 Let's Do it Again
Let's Do It Again (1975 film)
Let's Do It Again is a 1975 film starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker. Poitier also directed. The film is about blue-collar workers who decide to rig a boxing match to raise money for their fraternal lodge...

Clyde Williams
1977 Manny Durrell
1979 Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist
Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist
Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist is a 1979 short documentary film directed by Saul J. Turell. It won an Academy Award in 1980 for Documentary Short Subject.-Cast:* Paul Robeson - Himself * Sidney Poitier - Narrator...

Narrator short subject
1988 Shoot to Kill Warren Stantin
1988 Little Nikita
Little Nikita
Little Nikita is a cult 1988 American drama film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring Sidney Poitier and River Phoenix.-Plot synopsis:...

Roy Parmenter
1992 Sneakers
Sneakers (film)
Sneakers is a 1992 caper film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, written by Robinson, Walter F. Parkes, and Lawrence Lasker and starring Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn...

Donald Crease
1994 Himself documentary
1996 Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick Himself documentary
1996 To Sir, with Love II
To Sir, with Love II
To Sir, with Love II is an American television movie, a sequel to the 1967 British film, To Sir, with Love.Like its first part, it deals with social issues in an inner city school.-Plot summary:...

Mark Thackeray
1997 FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston
1999
2001 Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey Narrator documentary
2004 MacKenzie Himself documentary
2008 Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project Himself documentary

Director

Year Title
1972 Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher
Buck and the Preacher is a 1972 American Western film starring Sidney Poitier as Buck and Harry Belafonte as the Preacher. Buck is a trail guide leading groups of former slaves trying to homestead in the West, immediately after the American Civil War. The Preacher is a swindling minister of the...

1973
1974 Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night is a 1974 comedy film written by Richard Wesley, and directed by Sidney Poitier. Poitier also stars in this film, along with Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte. Cosby and Poitier teamed up again for Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action...

1975 Let's Do it Again
Let's Do It Again (1975 film)
Let's Do It Again is a 1975 film starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker. Poitier also directed. The film is about blue-collar workers who decide to rig a boxing match to raise money for their fraternal lodge...

1977
1980 Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy (film)
Stir Crazy is a 1980 American comedy film starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as down-on-their-luck friends who are given 125-year prison sentences after being framed for a bank robbery; while in prison they befriend other inmates and ultimately escape. In 2000, Total Film magazine voted it the...

1982 Hanky Panky
Hanky Panky (film)
Hanky Panky is a 1982 comedy film that stars Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner. The film is directed by Sidney Poitier. Wilder first met Radner during filming of this movie; the two later married.-Plot:...

1985 Fast Forward
Fast Forward (1985 film)
Fast Forward is a 1985 dance film directed by Sidney Poitier. In the film, a dance troup from Ohio comes to New York to compete in a national talent competition.-Plot synopsis:...

1990 Ghost Dad
Ghost Dad
As part of the publicity for the movie, a Ghost Dad novelization written by Mel Cebulash was released the year of the film's debut.-Critical reaction:...


Television

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Separate But Equal
Separate but equal
Separate but equal was a legal doctrine in United States constitutional law that justified systems of segregation. Under this doctrine, services, facilities and public accommodations were allowed to be separated by race, on the condition that the quality of each group's public facilities was to...

Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991...

Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1995 Children of the Dust
Children of the Dust (TV miniseries)
Children of the Dust is a TV miniseries that aired on February 26 and 28, 1995 on CBS, featuring an ensemble cast led by Academy Award winning actor Sidney Poitier...

Gypsy Smith
1996 To Sir, with Love II
To Sir, with Love II
To Sir, with Love II is an American television movie, a sequel to the 1967 British film, To Sir, with Love.Like its first part, it deals with social issues in an inner city school.-Plot summary:...

Mark Thackeray
1997 Mandela and De Klerk Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
1998 David and Lisa
David and Lisa
David and Lisa is a small independent film directed by Frank Perry, often cited as one of his best works. Based on the novel by Theodore Isaac Rubin, the screenplay, written by Frank Perry's wife Eleanor, tells the story of a bright young man suffering from a severe case of obsessive-compulsive...

Dr. Jack Miller
1999 Noah Dearborn
1999 Free of Eden Will Cleamons
2001 Henry Cobb

Autobiographical books

Poitier has written three autobiographical books:
  • This Life (1980)
  • The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
    The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
    The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography is an autobiographical work by Sidney Poitier. On January 26, 2007, Oprah Winfrey chose it for her book club.-Summary:...

    (2000)
  • Life Beyond Measure – letters to my Great-Granddaughter (2008, an Oprah's Book Club
    Oprah's Book Club
    Oprah's Book Club was a book discussion club segment of the American talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, highlighting books chosen by host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey started the book club in 1996, selecting a new novel for viewers to read and discuss each month. The Club ended its 15-year run, along with...

     selection).


Poitier is also the subject of the biography Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon (2004) by historian Aram Goudsouzian.

Movies about Poitier

  • Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood (Sidney Poitier, an outsider à Hollywood). Documentary film by Catherine Arnaud. Arte, France, 2008, 70 minutes.
  • Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light. American Masters, PBS. USA, 2000. 60 minutes.

See also

  • List of African American firsts
  • David Hampton
    David Hampton
    David Hampton was an American con artist who gained infamy in the 1980s after milking a group of wealthy Manhattanites out of thousands of dollars by convincing them he was Sidney Poitier's son...

    , an impostor who posed as Poitier's son "David" in 1983, which inspired a play and a film, Six Degrees of Separation
    Six Degrees of Separation (film)
    Six Degrees of Separation is a 1990 play written by John Guare that premiered at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center on May 16, 1990, directed by Jerry Zaks and starring Stockard Channing...



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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