Sidney Poitier, a Hollywood movie legend who went down in history as the first African-American actor to win an Oscar, has passed away. According to Eyewitness News, the interpreter and philanthropist has died at the age of 94, leaving behind an exultant career that dates back to the 1950s, having made his debut in Un ray de luz. In later years he was able to become a star in the industry, his acceptance among the public and critics coinciding with the most intense phase of the Civil Rights Movement within the United States.
This is how Poitier won the Academy Award for The Lilies of the Valley, released in 1964. Three years later, in 1967, he would chain the most popular roles of his career thanks to Rebellion in the Classrooms, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess who’s coming tonight. It was his peak as an actor, although in later years he continued to successfully play Inspector Tibbs (star of In the Heat of the Night ) and accumulated projects at a good pace, spacing his work from the new century.
The son of a Bahamian family, Poitier was born during his parents’ trip to Miami, for which he obtained the dual US and Bahamian citizenship. After serving in World War II, he made his acting debut on the Broadway stage, coming on the radar of such a prestigious director as Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who gave him a supporting role in A Ray of Light. It was 1950, and from then on Poitier would manage to work with the greatest directors: shortly afterward he collaborated with Budd Boetticher in his war drama Brothers in the face of danger, and in 1955 he would know his first box office success thanks to Seed of evil, which Stanley Kramer directed and starred Glenn Ford.
This drama centered on the misadventures of a veteran soldier turned teacher was a phenomenon thanks to the presence in its soundtrack of Rock Around the Clock by Bill Halley & His Comets, inaugurating the idyll between cinema and rock and roll. Two years later he starred Poitier The boy and the dog of William A. Wellman and appeared alongside Clark Gable and Yvonne De Carlo in the slave free of Raoul Walsh. 1958 arrived got the first Oscar nomination for black interpreter Fugitives of Stanley Kramer, where he played a prisoner forced to escape with Tony Curtis by sharing wives.
At the end of the decade, he starred with Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis Jr. in the musical Porgy and Bess by Otto Preminger, consolidating his star status when in 1964 he led the cast of Lilies of the Valley. Ralph Nelson was directing from a novel by William E. Barrett, which upon his transfer to the cinema had Poitier playing a traveling worker who crossed the path of a group of nuns in the Arizona desert. Highly acclaimed by critics, Lilies of the Valley went on to garner five Oscar nominations and won Poitier the acting award, marking a before and after.
What Was His Cause Of Death?
After the death of first African-American Sidney Poitier, people are keen to find out if he was sick or had some illness.
Sidney Poitier was not ill and did not suffer from any major health complications. One theory is that he might have died because of aging.
The death of Poitier has been confirmed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas in a statement in which he does not specify the cause of death of the legendary actor, born in Miami in 1927 and of natural parents from the island of Cat.
Until then, African-American performers had only won honorary awards ( James Baskett for Song of the South ) or the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind. Poitier’s victory coincided with unprecedented advances in the fight against racism, which marked the Hollywood of the time and several of his subsequent roles. Thus, and beyond his role in the biblical production The Greatest Story Ever Told, is how Poitier reached his triumphant year: 1967, where he starred in Guess Who’s Coming Tonight, In the Heat of the Night and Rebellion in the Classrooms .
For the first of them, he played the future son-in-law of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, reflecting the advances of the time while In the heat of the night he faced the most violent resistance to them. Winner of Best Picture, Norman Jewison’s film would lead to two sequels that continued the adventures of Inspector Tibbs played by Poitier: Now they call me Mr. Tibbs (in 1970) and Inspector Tibbs against the organization (in 1971). He would also repeat himself as Professor Mark Thackeray in Classroom Rebellion 2, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who also recently died, in 1990.
In 1972 Poitier was bitten by the realization bug and directed himself, alongside Harry Belafonte, in the western Buck and the Faker. This became a habit in the face of A Warm December (1973), the comedy attached to the blaxploitation It Happened on a Saturday (1974), and his collaborations with Bill Cosby, on Two Lucky Cheats and By Profession Scammers. With Crazy Fingers, which would star Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor In 1980, Poitier broke another record for the highest-grossing film directed by an African-American, repeating with the duo in A Very Crazy Escape.
Ghost Dad, starring again by Bill Cosby, marked his dismissal from directing in 1990. Throughout this decade Poitier began to frequent miniseries and telefilms, as the aforementioned sequel to Rebellion in the Classrooms accounts for. This is how he starred in Confronted, The Children of the Plain, The Silence of the Innocents, or The Peaceful Life of Noah Dearborn, in parallel to starring alongside Bruce Willis and Richard Gere in the action film Jackal. In 2002 Poitier would receive his second Oscar, this time honorary, for his global contribution to American cinema.
During that same ceremony Denzel Washington, curiously, won the Oscar for Best Actor for Training Day, becoming the second performer after Poitier to do so. “I will always haunt you, Sidney. I will always follow in your footsteps, ” declared Washington at the time. Throughout his career, Poitier never set aside his philanthropic work, being appointed ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan in 1997. From 2002 to 2007, he was also the Bahamas ambassador to UNESCO, and published his autobiography in 2000, entitled The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography.