Hollywood’s Original Debonaire, Smooth, Sophisticated, And Pioneering, Polished, Oscar-Winning, Black Actor, Sir’ Sidney Poitier Takes His Final Bow, Aged 94 ~ Thursday January 6 2022
Sidney Poitier 20 February 1927 – 6 January 2022
The Fact That The Prime Minister of The Bahamas & The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs Both Released Statements Upon The Passin’ of Sidney Poitier Tells Its Own Tale About How Highly Esteemed Their Native Son Was To Them, And Indeed Others Around The World. Followin’ His Phenomenal Foray Into The World of Theatre, Film, And Television News of His Passin’ At 7pm On January 6th 2022 Saw Tributes Pour In From Presidents Obama, Biden, And Clinton, As Well As Fellow Oscar Winners Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Mark Ruffalo, And Lupita Nyong’o To Name But A Few.
Lupita And Poitier Partied Together At The 2014 Oscars After Party. She Posted That He Was Her Hero.
Immediately Dispelling The Perverted, Obscene, And Misinformed Notion Of White Supremacy In Every Beautifully Human, Artistic And Dignified Way = Sidney Poitier.Actor Mark Ruffalo On Sidney Poitier’s Passin’ 2022
Halle Berry Posted: “A Tiny Bit Of Myself Is Lost When My Friends Are Gone,” Sidney Poitier Wrote In His Book LIFE BEYOND MEASURE. My Dear Sidney, An Enormous Part Of My Soul Weeps At Your Passing. You Were An Iconic Trailblazer. Yours Was A Life Well Lived. I Grew Up Idolizing You And Will Always Remember The Day When I First Met You. And There I Sat, With My Words Glued Together, And You Were As Gracious And Charming Then As You Would Be During Our Decades Of Friendship To Follow. Rest In Peace, Beloved Sidney. You Are And Always Will Be The True Measure Of A Man.
Sidney Poitier Began His Career In The American Negro Theatre In 1945 (ANT) And Within 20 Years Would Become The First Black Man To Win An Oscar (1964).
Civil Rights Activism Within Those Years Meant That By Then The Jim Crow Segregation Laws Were Comin’ To An End. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (The Same Year As His Win) Followed The March On Washington, Led By Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK)). And The Followin’ Year Saw The Votin’ Rights Act 1965 Followin’ The March From Selma To Montgomery State Capital Led By MLK.
Whilst He Found Fame In America, Sir’ Sidney Poitier Was Born To Bahamian Parents Evelyn & Reginald Poitier, Who Were Farmers. He Was Born Ahead of Time, In Miami Flordia, February 20th 1927, Whilst His Parents Were On A Business Trip To America And So Was Granted Automatic American Citizen Ship. He Grew Up In The Bahamas Until Circa 16 Years of Age. He Was The Yougest of 7 Children And His Parents Sent Him off To Live With An Elder Brother In America As He Grew Older & Looked Liked He Might Be Losin’ His Way. An Earlier More Humble Fresh Prince of Bel Air Perhaps.
Indeed He Did Become Associated With Princes And Royalty In Real Life As In 1974 He Was Actually Knighted By Queen Elizabeth II . The Bahamas Was A Royal Colony Until It Sought Independence After WW II And Declared Independence In 1973. Sir Sidney Poitier Was Able To Be Knighted In 1974 As The Country Remained Part of The Commonwealth With The Monarch As Head of State. He Was Both A British Citizen And A US Resident.
Whilst Workin’ In A Restaurant (The Time Honoured Occupation of Would-be Actors) An Elderely Waiter Connected To The Actin’ World Encouraged Him To Read, Speak & Present Himself Better If He Wanted To Do Better In Life. So He Did. They Practiced Together By The Newspaper. Indeed He Did So Well At This Self-Improvement Challenge That He Became Famous For It. And Not Only As An Actor But Also As A Diplomat Even After His Actin’ Career Was Over After He Officially Resigned From Actin’ In 2000. Hence He Earnt High Praise From High Government As Well As From His Contemporaries, Fans & Fellow Creatives. Beyond His Actin’ He Became The Bahamian Ambassador To Japan From 1997 – 2007.
Poitier’s Most Poignant Pictures
What Is Fascinatin’ About Poitier’s Career Is That It Started At The Height of Civil Rights Unrest & Upheavel In America. People In The Film Industry Embraced, Encouraged & Empowered Him In Defiance of Racial Hatred. And Together He & They Made It Work!
In 1945 He Joined The American Negro Theatre (ANT) Which Was An Artistic Manifestation As A Result of The Omnipresent Racial Segregation Prevailin’ Under Jim Crow Laws At The Time. The ANT Provided A Forum For Theatrical African-Americans Who Were Not Accepted Into White Mainstream Performance Platforms & Programs. Many A Big Name Started Out There. Interstingly It Was Not Exclusively Black And A Number of White Creatives Worked & Collaborated With The AMT Too. Within Five Years of Joinin’ The Group Poitier Got His Big Break.
No Way Out – 1950 – His First Feature Film- Directed By Civil Rights Supporter Joseph L Mankiewicz Who Was Focused On Makin’ Films Featurin’ Racial Integration. Richard Widmark Played A Thug Filled With Hate Who Hounds A Black Doctor As Played By Poitier. Thirteen Years Later, In A Different Movie, Sidney Was To Win An Oscar For Best Actor And Fly High Durin’ An Outstandin’ Actin’ Careeer.
The Defiant Ones – 1958 – It Was Nominated For 9 Oscars, Includin’ One Each For Curtis And Poitier. It Won Two. Best Screen Play And Best Cinematography Notwithstandin’ The Fact It Was A Black And White Movie. It Was About Two Prisoners Chained Together And On The Run. As Well As Workin’ With Premiere Actors Poitier Also Worked With Some of The Best Directors And Was To Make A Number of Films With Social Comment Movie Maker Stanley Kramer Known For His ‘Message Movies’.
Porgy & Bess – 1959 – Samuel Goldwyn Movies Described It As A New Age In Cinema And For Poitier It Proved To Be Just That. And Then Some! Again A Stellar Cast Included Sammy Davis Jnr. Dorothy Dandrige. And Peter Brocks (Later To Star In The Phenomenal To Kill A Mockingbird With Gregory Peck). A Man Falls For A Girl ‘With A Past’. The Question Is Will Their Love Last Despite Much Interference.
A Raision In The Sun – 1961 – Written As A Play By Lorraine Hansberry In 1959 It Was Adapted To A Movie And Released By Columbia Pictures In 1961. It Has Become A Cultural Classic Played By Numerous Different Casts. Louis Gossett Jnr. (Later of An Officer And Gentleman Fame) Stars With Poitier In This One. And Passionately Tells The Story of A Poor Black Family Seekin’ A Better Life.
Paris Blues – 1961 – In A Great Forward Thinkin’, Stylish And Mesmerising Movie About Race Relations In 1960s Paris Poitier Teams Up With Diahann Carroll To Provide Stunnin’ Vintage Black Glamour Alongside The Famously Hot & Handsome Paul Newman And Joanne Woodward (Married In Real Life). They Played Two Ex-Pat American Musicians Livin In France And Two American Girlfriends On Holiday In Paris. The Film Contrasts Racial Prejudice In America And A More Relaxed Music Scene In France. It’s A Beautiful, Powerful, Smooth Film And Deserves More Much Recognition And Acclaim Than It Has Had Thus Far.
Lillies of The Field – 1963 – Oscar For Best Actor. The First Black Man To Win An Oscar
“God Is Good. He Sent Me A Big Strong Man.”
“He Never Said Anything To Me About Sendin’ Me No Place. I’m Just Passin’ Through.”
So Begins A Fascinatin’ Relationship Between 5 Catholic Nuns From Germany, Austria And Hungary AndA Black Baptist In Post World War II At The Height of The Civil Rights Movement. These Were Two of The Most Racially Disharmonious, Destructive Yet Impactful Times In World History. And Set Amongst This Background This Movie Won His First Ever Oscar For Sidney.
The Pervasive Theme Throughout The Movie Is The Language Difference Between The Two Parties & The Nun’s Willingness To Learn & The Pastor’s Willingness To Teach. Notably There Is A Lesson Within A Lesson Wherein We Learn “Swarz” (As In “Swarzeneggar”) Means Black).
It’s A Beautiful Thing When Juan The Restaurant Owner Meets Homer The Hungary Helper Who Is Feed Like A King. It’s Like A Precursor To Fine Dinin’ For All Who Can Afford It.
This Is Big Bold Stuff. And Poitier Wins A Big Bold Oscar For Best Actor. Big Moment!
(Sadly A Much Less Hospitable Scene Played Out In Response To A Black Man Sittin’ At A Cafe Counter In The 1989 Film Mississippi Burnin’. It Is Heartbreakingly Based On A True Story About A 1960s Triple Murder Investigation Led By The FBI. Poitier Was Not In It But The Two Scenes Are Worth Comparison In Terms of The History of Hollywood).
In 1966 He Starred With James Garner In The Black & White Cowboys And Indians Western Dual At Diablo From Whence Came The Iconic Image of Him Wearing A Grand Looking Cowboy Hat (See Above). But Yet Three Major Greater Iconic Roles Were To Hit The Movies Screens The Following Year.
1967 Was A Big Year For Poitier Three Iconic Movies Starrin’ Him Bein’ Released.
In The Heat of The Night – 1967 – This Film Sees Poitier Deliver One of Hollywoods Most Famous Lines, “They Call Me Mr Tibbs.” He Plays Opposite Rod Steiger With Both Men Playin’ Police Officers. Detective And Sheriff. It Also Featured The Iconic Moment A Black Man Slapped A White Man Back In The Deep South of America.
The Moment Was So Powerful It Inspired Nelson Mandela Durin’ His Incarceration In South Africa As A Political Prisioner. As He Had Heard About It And Was Desparate To See It. Seein’ It (After It Was Snuck In For Him) Let Him Know Positive Change Was Happenin’ In The World And It Inspired Him Even Further To Stay Strong And Stand Firm In His Believes. It Worked Because He Was Eventually Released (Havin’ Miraculously Endured 27 Years As A Political Prisoner) And Went On To Become South Africa’s First Black President. The Country Was Previously Globally Notorious For It’s Inhumane, Brutal Legal, Cultural And Social System Based On White Supremacy & Racial Apartheid.
Reportedly Durin’ Filmin In The American South Poitier Escapted A Near Death Experience With The KKK And So Slept With A Gun To Protect Himself. That’s Dedication To The Cause And One’s Craft Above And Beyond The Call of Duty.
The Legendary Mandela Story And Oscar Winnin’ Movie Highlight The Power of The Arts To Inspire People, Impact Society, And Change Lives.
To Sir With Love – 1967 – An Iconic Movie That Reflected His Insistence On Actin’ In Movies of Cultural Substance. For This Was The Cinematic Autobiographical Novel of E.R. Braithwaite, The Guyanese Writer, Teacher & Diplomat. Braithwaite’s Story Is An Amazin’ One And Is Worth One’s Own Little Adventure In Research And Investigation Beyond The Film, Just For Personal Fullfillment And Fun, As He Really Is An Inspiration. (The Film Also Starred British Pop Star & Actress Lulu.)
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner 1967 Again This Was Brave Movie Makin’ About Issues That Were Contemporary And Relevant. It Starred Some of Hollywoods Most Famous Actors Too, Sidney Was Cast Alongside Legendary Actors Katherine Hepburn And James Cagney. They Play The Boyfriend, Mother And Father of A White Middle Class Girl Respectively. The Youngsters Announcement That They Plan To Marry Sends Shock Ways Throughout The Family, When Guess Who Comes To Dinner. It’s A Classic.
It Was Nominated For Ten Oscars. Ultimately It Won Tw0. Best Actress For Hepburn. And Best Screenplay For William Rose.
Aston Kuther And Zoe Saldana Made A Reverse Role Comedy Remake In 2003 Starrin’ The Great Bernie Mac In The Father Role.
Stir Crazy – 1980 – Poitier Also Directed Comedies Himself Too, Includin’ The Comedy Classic Stir Crazy Starrin’ Richard Pryor And Gene Wilder In 1980.
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