January 7, 2022
FROM ABC DIGITAL NEWS:
Sidney Poitier, the Oscar-winning actor who brought a quiet dignity to his characters on screen and helped break down the color barrier in Hollywood, has died at age 94.
Bahamian officials confirmed his passing Friday to ABC News. Poitier served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007.
Poitier became the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor in 1964 for his role in Lilies of the Field. He was perhaps best known for his role as a Black doctor engaged to a white woman in 1967’s groundbreaking film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, in which he starred opposite Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
That same year, Poitier portrayed his most successful character, Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs, working alongside a racist white Southern police chief, played by Rod Steiger, in the crime drama In the Heat of the Night.
After retiring from acting in 1997, Poitier served as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan until 2007.
In 2002, 38 years after receiving his best actor Oscar, Poitier was given an honorary Academy Award for his “remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.” In 2009, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.