FILE – Sidney Poitier poses along with his honorary Oscar trophy through the 74th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 24, 2002.


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Sidney Poitier, whose elegant bearing and principled onscreen characters made him Hollywood’s first Black film star and the first Black man to win the best actor Oscar, has died. He was 94.

Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed to CNN that Poitier died Thursday night.

Keep scrolling for a gallery of images from the lifetime of Sidney Poitier

Poitier overcame an impoverished background within the Bahamas and a thick island accent to rise to the highest of his occupation at a time when outstanding roles for Black actors had been uncommon. He gained the Oscar for 1963’s “Lilies of the Field,” during which he performed an itinerant laborer who helps a bunch of White nuns construct a chapel.

36th Annual Academy Awards

Actor Sidney Poitier is photographed along with his Oscar statuette at the thirty sixth Annual Academy Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on April 13, 1964. He gained Best Actor for his function in “Lillies of the Field.”

Many of his best-known movies explored racial tensions as Americans had been grappling with social modifications wrought by the civil rights motion. In 1967 alone, he appeared as a Philadelphia detective preventing bigotry in small-town Mississippi in “In the Heat of the Night” and a physician who wins over his White fiancée’s skeptical mother and father in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Poitier’s motion pictures struggled for distribution within the South, and his selection of roles was restricted to what White-run studios would produce. Racial taboos, for instance, precluded him from most romantic elements. But his dignified roles helped audiences of the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties envision Black folks not simply as servants however as medical doctors, academics and detectives.

At the identical time, because the lone Black main man in Nineteen Sixties Hollywood, he got here below great scrutiny. He was too typically hailed as a noble image of his race and endured criticism from some Black individuals who mentioned he had betrayed them by taking sanitized roles and pandering to Whites.

“It’s been an enormous responsibility,” Poitier informed Oprah Winfrey in 2000. “And I accepted it, and I lived in a way that showed how I respected that responsibility. I had to. In order for others to come behind me, there were certain things I had to do.”

Sidney Poitier, first Black man to win best actor Oscar, dies at 94 | Entertainment News Source hyperlink Sidney Poitier, first Black man to win best actor Oscar, dies at 94 | Entertainment News

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