The life story of Sidney Poitiers

The American actor, Sidney Poitier, who entered Hollywood history as the first African-American to win the “Oscar” film award, for his leading male role, celebrated his 94th birthday on February 20, 2021. This actor, who became a legend during his lifetime, actually had a lot of luck in his career, considering that he realized his most impressive film and theater achievements at a time when racism was raging in the United States, and he succeeded despite all racial obstacles. To get roles that delighted both the audience and the critics.

The life story of Sidney Poitiers is the fight against racism and poverty that accompanied him in his childhood

For the leading role in the film “Lilies of the Field”, in 1964, he won the historic “Oscar”, but also the “Golden Globe”, and the “Silver Bear” in Berlin.

Although he won the most prestigious film awards for that film, he was nominated for an “Oscar” three times before that great triumph for the African-American community that fought for its place under the sun. He starred alongside the biggest names of the golden Hollywood era such as Catherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, Shelley Winters in “Meeting in the Park”, Dorothy Dantridge and Sammy Davis Jr. in the musical “Porgy and Bess” ”, with Clark Gable in the film“ Band of Angles ”…

Although his childhood did not reveal what a stellar future awaited him, given that he grew up in a poor family of farmers in the Bahamas, without any major formal education, his father, a taxi driver, sent him to Miami at the age of 15 to live with his older brother. Make something of yourself.

Namely, Sydney was accidentally born in Miami, because he arrived in the world as a premature baby, two and a half months before his due date, when his parents were visiting relatives in Florida.

But, then, Miami was far from this modern, fashionable city. The teenager at the time was shocked by the racist environment he came to, considering that he arrived from the island where the majority of the population is black, and until then he had not encountered humiliation and belittling of that kind.

At that time, African-Americans were third- and even fourth-class citizens, so young Poitiers began to engage in petty crime, in order to survive, until he moved to New York at the age of eighteen. There he lived in black Harlem, slept at bus stops and did mostly physical work, until he saw an opportunity at the American Black Theater. At first, he was not accepted, so out of spite, in six months, he honed his accent and acting skills, came to the audition and immediately got roles that delighted both the audience and the critics.

Everything else is history

What follows could be said to be history, and his theatrical successes led him to a major role in the film “The Defiant Ones” (1958) for which he received his first Oscar nomination. Poati’s undoubted talent, but also his integrity and inherent likability, put him on an equal footing with the white stars of the time, making him an exception to this day and a person who certainly made the Hollywood journey easier for actors of African-American descent.

In addition to his talent, his roles certainly provided him with an attractive appearance!

With an athletic body, a handsome, boyish face, this 189-centimeter-tall and striking actor was a great lure and for the fairer sex, he married twice. For the first time in 1950 for Juanita Hardy, who gave birth to four daughters in fifteen years of marriage, and since 1976 she has been married to former Canadian actress Joann Shimux, with whom she has two daughters.

His late years were also marked by private tragedies

Three years ago, his youngest daughter from his first marriage, 57-year-old Gina Patrice Poitiers – Guray, passed away suddenly, and a few years earlier, her son Emanuel. No one from his large family has ever publicly commented on the tragic events, and he finds comfort and joy in his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are very proud of their famous father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who they say continues to burst with enchanting energy. Although he rarely goes out due to his advanced age, he still looks forward to family and friendly gatherings on his large estate in Los Angeles, and last appeared in public in 2017 at the TCM Classic Film Festival on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the film classic In the Heat of the Night. Which he played the lead role, and the film won five Oscars, three Golden Globes as well as many other awards.


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