Sidney Poitier

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Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

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Photofest

Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American retired actor, film director, and ambassador.

His entire family lived in the Bahamas, then still a British colony, but Poitier was born unexpectedly in Miami while they were visiting for the weekend, which automatically granted him American citizenship. He grew up in the Bahamas, but moved back to Miami aged 15 and to New York when he was 16. He joined the North American Negro Theatre, landing his breakthrough film role as an incorrigible high school student in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle.

Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American retired actor, film director, and ambassador.

His entire family lived in the Bahamas, then still a British colony, but Poitier was born unexpectedly in Miami while they were visiting for the weekend, which automatically granted him American citizenship. He grew up in the Bahamas, but moved back to Miami aged 15 and to New York when he was 16. He joined the North American Negro Theatre, landing his breakthrough film role as an incorrigible high school student in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle.

In 1958, Poitier starred with Tony Curtis as chained-together escaped convicts in the The Defiant Ones, which received nine Academy Award nominations. Both actors received a nomination for Best Actor, with Poitier's being the first for a black actor, as well as a nomination for a BAFTA, which Poitier won.

In 1964, he won the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963) in which he played a handyman helping a group of German-speaking nuns build a chapel. Poitier also received acclaim for A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and A Patch of Blue (1965).

He continued to break ground in three successful 1967 films which dealt with issues of race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night. He was the top box-office star of the year. He received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for the latter film, but not for the Oscars, likely due to vote splitting between his roles.

After twice reprising his Virgil Tibbs role from In the Heat of the Night and acting in a variety of other films, including the thriller The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), with Michael Caine, Poitier turned to acting/directing with the action-comedies Uptown Saturday Night (1974), Let's Do It Again (1975), and A Piece of the Action (1978), all co-starring Bill Cosby. During a decade away from acting, he directed the hit Stir Crazy (1980) starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, among other films. He returned to acting in the late 1980s and early 1990s in a few thrillers and television roles.

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Awards & Nominations

2 Nominations
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