Sir Sidney Poitier is an award-winning actor, film director, writer, and international diplomat. In 1963, Poitier became the first African American ever to win an Oscar for Best Actor and the Golden Globe Award in the same category for his role in the 1963 adaptation of William Edmund Barrett’s novel Lilies of the Field.
In 2002 the Hollywood icon received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition to his illustrious showbiz career, Sydney Poitier is also a respected diplomat who has served as ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan. Poitier is a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and also a recipient of the American President’s Medal of Freedom.
Sidney Poitier Biography
Sir Sidney L. Poitier was born on February 20, 1927, in Miami, Florida, the son of Bahamian parents Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier. Sidney was born 2 months before his birth date while his parents were in Miami on business. As a result, his parents stayed back in Miami until their little son was in much better condition. The young Poitier grew up in the Bahamas with 7 older brothers, but his birth in the USA automatically gave him US citizenship.
As a teenager, Poitier moved to Miami where he joined his brother’s family. At 16 he moved to New York where he had several odd jobs to provide for himself. Since he never had any formal education, Poitier was taught to read newspapers by one of his co-workers. During the Second World War, he falsified his age in order to be enlisted in the US Army. After serving as a hospital guard for a short time, Poitier was discharged from the army and he took odd jobs again. After a successful audition at the American Negro Theater (ANT) he finally got a chance to become an actor.
Sidney Poitier had a hard time in the first months but finally, he got his first leading role in a Broadway production. He made his feature film debut in 1950 in the movie No Way Out. His performance in this movie effectively got him attention and earned him many more roles. In 1958 Poitier received his first Oscar nomination for his leading role in the crime thriller The Insubordinates (1958) and was the first actor of Bahamian descent to be nominated for an Oscar. Sidney Poitier made even more history in 1963 when he claimed the Oscar for Best Actor, becoming the first black actor and the first actor born in the Bahamas to receive this prestigious award.
As early as 1974 Sidney Poitier was appointed Knight of the Order of the British Empire by the British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II. After several decades of a brilliant Hollywood career, Sidney served his home country as ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007. On August 12, 2009, he was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom by then US President Barack Obama.
His Wife, Daughter, and Other Children
Sidney Poitier is currently married to former actress Joanna Shimkus, to whom he has been married for over 4 decades. Shimkus was born in Canada and she is also of Irish descent. The couple entered into the union on 23 January 1976; they have 2 children together.
Before his present union, he was married to a woman named Juanita Hardy. The marriage lasted 15 years, from April 1950 to 1965. In addition to his first marriage, Poitier also had a nine-year affair with the actress Diahann Carroll. It is supposed that their relationship began when Poitier was still married to his first wife but they never married.
The actor has altogether 6 children, all daughters. With his first wife Juanita Hardy, Poitier had 4 daughters: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina. From his current marriage, he had 2 more (Anika and Sydney). Mr. Sidney also has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Sydney Tamiia Poitier is the last daughter of the veteran Hollywood actor, and just like her father, she has immersed herself in the world of acting. She started out in the 1990s with smaller roles both on television and in films. Apart from her guest roles in Grey’s Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0, Tamiia has had regular roles in Chicago P.D. (2014) and the Canadian crime drama Carter (2018).
Is Sidney Poitier Dead or Alive?
At the age of over 9 decades, Sir Sidney Poitier is still very much alive and well. The Hollywood veteran was the victim of unfounded death tricks on a few occasions, but all of them proved to be false. Sidney Poitier is the oldest surviving male Academy Award winner and a versatile pioneer.
Sidney Poitier is, without doubt, one of the most successful actors in the history of Hollywood. He has enjoyed an illustrious career of several decades as an actor and also as a director. His net worth is currently estimated at 25 million dollars.