One of the most highly respected; loved and cherished Bahamian-American actors, Sidney Poitier has passed on at the age of 95. He died at his home in Los Angeles but the cause of his death is unknown. Poitier is a celebrated thespian who has gained international prominence for decades of work as a Black actor. His death was announced by the Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister, Fred Mitchell.
He revolutionized and transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, his acting prowess is second to none and it has earned him multiple awards including an Academy Award as the first Black actor in a lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw.
A noticeable mark Sidney Poitier left in Nigeria was when he and Eartha Kitt partially shot the movie, The Mark of The Hawk in Enugu, Nigeria in 1957. It was said that Nnamdi Azikiwe had to vacate The Premier’s Lodge for some days so some of the scenes can be shot there. Poitier has had an extremely successful career on and off the screen; he is credited with paving the way for other Black actors to break out of stereotypical roles offered by Hollywood producers.
Sidney Poitier came to the limelight in the 1950s racial drama ‘No Way Out’ and since then has gone on to win several accolades and recognition globally. A man of many firsts, he’s the first Black man to win an Oscar, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Knighthood. He was a sought-after actor in Hollywood and has starred in over a hundred films.
Poitier had a great influence on many actors and celebrities since news of his demise filtered in; the social media space has been flooded with tributes from prominent personalities. Morgan Freeman wrote “My inspiration, my guiding light, my friend”, former US President Barack Obama said he revealed the power of movies to bring us closer together, Oprah Winfrey called Poitier her “Mentor, Friend, Brother, Confidant, Wisdom teacher”.
Denzel Washington said “It was a privilege to call Sidney Poitier my friend. He was a gentleman and opened doors for all of us that had been closed for years. God bless him and his family” Tyler Perry also penned down on Facebook, “The grace and class that
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