Trailblazing Actor Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

Sidney Poitier in 2016.
Sidney Poitier in 2016. Photo by David Buchan/Shutterstock (6118491aa)

Sidney Poitier, the trailblazing actor who made history as the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor, passed away at 94. Poitier leaves an iconic legacy behind him, both as a Hollywood icon and as a civil rights activist, humanitarian, and diplomat.

Poitier died at the age of 94 at his home in Los Angeles, and his family released a touching statement looking back at fond memories they shared with the legendary actor.

“To us, Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder,” reads the statement by Poitier’s family.

After the news of his passing made headlines, tributes poured in from many public figures and Hollywood stars, who looked up to Poitier since the beginning of their careers. Harry Belafonte, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, and Dionne Warwick are some of many celebrities who bid him farewell.

Sidney Poitier made history in 1964 when he became the first Black person to collect the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field. He later received an Honorary Oscar “for representing the industry with dignity, style, and intelligence”, among many other prestigious accolades.