Sidney Poitier: First black man to win an Oscar dies at 94

He went from a dishwasher to serving in the Army, before joining the American Negro Theater, trading janitorial services for dramatic arts training.
Sidney Poitier: First black man to win an Oscar dies at 94

Sidney Poitier

CREDIT: SGRANITZ/WIREIMAGE

The first black man to clinch an Oscar award, Sidney Poitier, has passed away on Thursday night.

Poitier was aged 94 when he died on January 7th 2021 and the cause of death has not been reported.

He was the first Bahamian and African American to win an Academy Award in 1964 for Lilies of the Field.

According to PEOPLE, Poitier's death was confirmed by Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas on Friday.

Poitier was born two months premature in Miami in 1927, while his parents, Bahamian farmers Evelyn and Reginald Poitier, were in the country to sell tomatoes.

Against all odds, Poitier pulled through and grew stronger, becoming a dishwasher to serving in the Army, before joining the American Negro Theater, trading janitorial services for dramatic arts training.

The publication added that Poitier made it to Broadway, with a role in Lysistrata, kicking off his stage career.

The iconic actor had a staggering list of accolades, including an Academy Award, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a knighthood, Poitier leaves behind an indelible legacy that extends far beyond his commanding screen presence.

In 1959 Poitier became the first Black actor to be nominated for Best Actor in Oscar for his role as Noah Cullen in 'The Defiant Ones'.

It wasn't until 1963 that Poitier won the Best Actor Academy Award — the first Black man to do so — for his role in Lilies of the Field, as Homer Smith, a handyman building a chapel in the desert.

He became the first Black man to win a competitive Oscar, the first Bahamian to win Best Actor, the first Black actor to receive two acting nominations (Best Actor) and the youngest Black actor to win Best Actor (age 37).

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