Sir Sidney Poitier, Hollywood’s first Black movie star, has died at age 94, multiple outlets reported. The prime minister of the Bahamas confirmed to CNN that the prolific actor died on Thursday night. His cause of death has yet to be revealed.
Sir Sidney took Hollywood by storm in the 1960s as the first leading Black man amid racial tensions and the civil rights movement. Many of his roles explored themes of race, power dynamics, and combatting bigotry. He also challenged Hollywood’s casting of Black men by showing them outside of roles rooted in servitude. In 1963, he had a triumphant win as the first Black man to win an Oscar for best actor for his role in Lilies of the Field.
Actor Wendell Pierce shared a quote by Arthur Miller in his tribute to Sir Sidney, which read: “There is a certain immortality involved in theater, not created by monuments and books, but through the knowledge an actor keeps to his dying day that on a certain afternoon, in an empty and dusty theater, he cast the shadow of a being that was not himself but the distillation of all that he had ever observed; all the unsingable heart song the ordinary man may feel but never utter, he gave voice to. And by that somehow joins the ages.”
Sir Sidney paved the way for diverse artistry, and he will be remembered for his legacy.
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