One of the most talented actors in the history of motion pictures is Sidney Poitier. The American Film Institute credited Poitier in 1999 as one of the Greatest Male Stars of All Time. In 2009, Poitier also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The following is a five-section biography of Sidney Poitier, detailing major events of his life.
Biography of Sidney Poitier Section I: The early years of the film legend
Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, 1927 in Miami, Florida. He actually spent most of his early life in the Bahamas, but still had U.S. citizenship due to his location of birth. An interesting fact about the actor is that his parents wanted him to be faithful to the Roman Catholic Church, but Poitier had his doubts about God. Sidney Poitier started to live in Miami when he was 15-years-old. He struggled to read, but he prevailed with great moral strength. With the help of a friendly waiter at a restaurant in which Poitier was working as a dishwasher for, he gradually became fluent in English. After working as a dishwasher, Poitier became a member of the United States Army.
Biography of Sidney Poitier Section II: Made history for his performance in Lilies of the Field
The charismatic film star worked as an actor for the American Negro Theater at the start of his acting career. He enjoyed acting for the theater, although his options were limited due to his tone deafness.
His first significant performance was in the 1955 movie Blackboard Jungle. Poitier played a character named Gregory Miller, who is a student of an urban school that has had some issues with inappropriate behavior. His performance helped him gain some name recognition, as the movie received great reviews and had a terrific cast.
Eight years later, in 1963, Sidney Poitier gave another brilliant performance, this time in the movie Lilies of the Field. Poitier played a character who led an adventurous lifestyle of an African American worker who meets some German nuns. These German nuns thought that Poitier’s character was supposed to help them build a chapel. Sidney Poitier made history for his performance when he received an Academy Award for Best Actor. This marked the first time an African American male actor won an Academy Award.
Biography of Sidney Poitier Section III: “They Call Me Mr. Tibbs”
Sidney Poitier also turned in a great performance in the movie In the Heat of the Night. Poitier played an officer, Detective Virgil Tibbs, who was an intelligent man who did not receive as much respect as he should have, because he was African American. For his performance, Sidney Poitier received two notable nominations, a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. He did not win either award,but his brilliant performance should still be remembered.
Biography of Sidney Poitier Section IV: Notable awards received by Sidney Poitier
Along with receiving an Oscar, Sidney Poitier has been nominated for and won other notable awards. For instance, the Hollywood star received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the 1959 film The Defiant Ones. He also received an Honorary Award for his lifetime work.
The talented actor has received other lifetime awards. For instance, he received Kennedy Center Hours in 1995, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Biography of Sidney Poitier Section V: Recent years of the talented actor
Sidney Poitier, unfortunately, has not shown his creative talents much in the 21st century. He has made only one television appearance, in The Last Brickmaker in America. He has also been in only three films, all of which were documentaries.
On a final note, Sidney Poitier will turn 88 in February of next year. He is not getting any younger, and by the way he was slowly reacting to everything at the 86th Academy Awards, his final days will soon be here. Before then, I recommend that everyone should watch at least one movie starring Sidney Poitier to catch a glimpse of his impressive creativity and talent.
Bill Goodykoontz, “Oscar win proved Sidney Poitier was second to none,” USA Today.
“Sidney Poitier – Movies and Biography,” Yahoo! Movies.
“Sidney Poitier Biography,” Biography.com.