Sidney Poitier

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Jimmy Smits on In the Heights, Immigrant Stories and That Time He Did Karaoke With Gregory Peck and Sidney Poitier

Jimmy Smits is known for playing gritty detectives and inspiring politicians in hit TV series like NYPD Blue, LA Law, and The West Wing. He is not known for his work in musicals. But the 65-year old was a fan of In The Heights—”I saw it off-Broadway,” he says—and so he pitched himself to director Jon Chu for the role of Puerto Rican cab company owner Kevin Rosario by putting together a reel of himself singing in NYPD Blue and The West Wing.
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More than a Career Year: Sidney Poitier in 1967

Some actors are generational talents. Sidney Poitier defined a generation. His many accolades include the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Kennedy Center Honor, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The actor also turned 94 in February of 2021. That same month, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama). In the seventy-eight year history of the Golden Globes, he was only the fourth black man to ever win the award. Sidney Poitier was the first. Due to his immaculate good looks, immense talent and impeccable charm, Poitier delineated a new conception for the Negro actor. He also broke barriers. In 1964, he became the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. However, the zenith of his career came three years later.1967 saw Sidney star in three very significant films playing three very distinct roles in a very turbulent time in America. It may be the most momentous single year for any actor in the history of cinema.
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Oprah Winfrey Shares How Sidney Poitier 'Laid the Groundwork' for Herself and Others (Exclusive)

If there’s one person in Hollywood who is considered a true trailblazer, it’s Sidney Poitier. The longtime actor broke barriers onscreen with films like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night and during the height of the Civil Rights movement in 1964, he became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. During Black History Month, Oprah Winfrey is opening up to ET’s Kevin Frazier about the 94-year-old actor’s legacy and how he laid the groundwork for herself and many others within the industry.
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Sidney Poitier: A Living Legend Who Changed Hollywood

Sidney Poitier — who turns 94 on Feb. 20 — has received virtually every showbiz award possible: An Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, plus Life Achievement Awards from AFI, BAFTA, NAACP Image Awards, SAG and Kennedy Center Honors, to name a few. Though the kudos have been plentiful, they aren’t enough to convey the depth of his lasting impact on the entertainment industry, starting with being the first Black winner of best actor Oscar for the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.”
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The life and career of Sidney Poitier

Legendary actor, film director, and diplomat, Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE, has a historic career in Hollywood, yet his work goes far beyond the big screen. Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in 'Lilies of the Field' in 1964, the first African-American to be nominated and win the award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, by President Obama. Poitier was born on Feb. 20, 1927, two months prematurely, while his Bahamian parents were on vacation in Miami. At 70-years-old, while still a working director and actor, Poitier became the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan in 1997, for a tenure spanning 10 years.

4 Ways Sidney Poitier was a trailblazer on and off the screen

1. His first film prompted the formation of a political party that later overthrew a government. Before he found his way to Hollywood, Sidney Poitier spent his childhood on the remote beaches of Cat Island in the Bahamas, where he grew up the son of poor tomato farmers. The youngest and most rambunctious of seven children, Poitier was on the verge of attending reform school when his father sent him to live with family in Miami, Florida instead. From there, he moved to New York City at the age of 15 with just three dollars in his pocket and decided he wanted to act in the movies. Poitier listened endlessly to radio programs to help him learn to enunciate and lose his Bahamian lilt while working as a dishwasher. The effort paid off, and seven years later in 1950, when the budding actor was 22, he starred in his first film, “No Way Out.” The pioneering noir picture was one of the first films to tackle the topic of racial tensions in America, and broke with typical portrayals of Black characters as subservient and cowering. The film’s release also coincided with the nascent civil rights movement in the U.S., and was subject to strict censorship rules and bans, particularly in Southern cinemas, but also in the Bahamas, where the country’s colonial film board refused to show the film. Outraged Bahamians of African descent soon gathered together to form the Citizens Committee to demand the ban on the movie be lifted. They won.
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Arizona State University names film school after legendary actor Sidney Poitier

TEMPE, AZ — In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to take home an Academy Award for Best Actor. Poitier won the honor for his portrayal of Homer Smith in the 1963 film, "Lilies of the Field," which was filmed in the Arizona desert. Now, nearly six decades later, Arizona State University is honoring the legendary film actor by naming its film school after him.

Sidney Poitier Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Sidney Poitier, award winning actor and civil rights activist. Marriages: Joanna Shimkus (January 23, 1976-present); Juanita Marie Hardy (April 29, 1950-July 9, 1965, divorced) Children: with Joanna Shimkus: Sydney and Anika; with Juanita Marie Hardy: Gina, Sherri, Pamela and Beverly. Other Facts.

Arizona State University Renames Film School to Honor Sidney Poitier

Arizona State University has named its new film school after legendary actor Sidney Poitier. According to a USA Today report, the decision to name the school after Poitier, 93, is about much more than an emphasis on diversity. In an interview ahead of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School’s...