New Delhi: Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier, who was an Academy Award winner, has died at the age of 94. The star’s death was confirmed to Fox News on Friday by the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office.
His film ‘Lilies of the Field’ led to a huge milestone making him the first Black winner of a lead-acting Oscar. Sidney’s roles were legendary. He starred as Mark Thackeray in ‘To Sir With Love’, and Detective Virgil Tibbs in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ in 1967.
US President Joe Biden praised Sidney Poitieas a “once-in-a-generation actor and advocate whose work carried so much dignity, power, and grace that it changed the world on and off the big screen.”
“Jill and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Sidney Poitier, the once-in-a-generation actor and advocate whose work carried so much dignity, power, and grace that it changed the world on and off the big screen,” the US President said in a White House statement. Biden said that Poitier “was more than just one of the finest actors in our history. His iconic performances in films like The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night held a mirror up to America’s racial attitudes in the 1950s and 1960s. With unflinching grandeur and poise — his singular warmth, depth, and stature on-screen — Sidney helped open the hearts of millions and changed the way America saw itself.”
Furthermore in the statement, the US President added: “The son of tomato farmers in the Bahamas, Sidney became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor — but the trail he blazed extended leaps and bounds beyond his background or profession. He blazed a path for our nation to follow, and a legacy that touches every part of our society today. Jill and I send our love and prayers to Sidney’s wife, Joanna, his daughters, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May God bless Sidney Poitier.”