Actor Sidney Poitier dies aged 94

Actor Sidney Poitier dies aged 94

Hollywood ground-breaking actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94.

Poitier broke through racial barriers becoming the first Black person to win the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field.

An official from the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the news regarding Poitier who died on Thursday night.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas Chester Cooper issued a statement on his Facebook page where he praised the late Bahmaian-American actor as "an icon, a hero, a mentor, a fighter, a national treasure".


He continued: "I was conflicted with great sadness and a sense of celebration when I learned of the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier. Sadness that he would no longer be here to tell him how much he means to us, but a celebration that he did so much to show the world that those from the humblest beginnings can change the world and that we gave him his flowers while he was with us.

"He will be missed sorely, but his is a legacy that will never be forgotten."

Poitier was born in Miami, Florida in 1927 while his Bahamian farmer parents were visiting the State.


The youngest of seven children worked for a time as a dishwasher with limited success with stage work.

His breakout role as an actor came in the 1950 film No Way Out. and he then achieved fame with 1955’s Blackboard Jungle, where he played the teacher of a difficult high school class.

In a single year, Poitier took part in three 1967 films at a time when segregation prevailed in a lot of the United States and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement.

In 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner', he played a Black man with a white fiancee. In 'The Heat of the Night' he played Virgil Tibbs, a Black police officer confronting racism during a murder investigation and also played a teacher in a tough London school that year in 'To Sir, With Love'.


In 1992, Poitier was given the Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, the most prestigious honour after the Oscar and thanked the waiter that helped him learn to read.

"I must also pay thanks to an elderly Jewish waiter who took time to help a young Black dishwasher learn to read," Poitier told the audience.

"I cannot tell you his name. I never knew it, but I read pretty good now."