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  • By Thomas Kinnard

Sidney Poitier: Life and Legacy

Renowned actor Sidney Poitier passes away. Photo courtesy of

Renowned actor, film director, and diplomat, Sidney Poitier, died at 94 years old in his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2022.

Poitier is considered a legend and inspiration for many in the film industry, particularly people of color when he became the first African America/Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964. He won the award for his starring role as Homer Smith in the film “Lillies of the Field.” Poitier also held a position on the board of directors for the Walt Disney Company and was an ambassador for the Bahamas.

With a filmography of over 30 roles and directing nine films, he was a landmark member in the film industry and a trailblazer for people of color. He was truly considered the first African American movie star in Hollywood. It is also notable that he achieved this during the height of the civil rights movement. Poitier has received awards from the Academy, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the Grammys along with a presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary knighthood.

Poitier will be fondly remembered for his contributions to the film industry and the barriers he broke with his success in a time when many thought that would never be possible. Many figures in the industry gave their tributes to him upon hearing the news of his passing. Former President Barack Obama, who awarded Poitier with a Medal of Freedom, said that he “epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power movies had to bring closer together.”

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