Sidney Poitier Through The Years: PHOTOS

Sidney Poitier
Photo: Getty Images

Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor, has died at the age of 94. The trailblazing actor, who was known as Hollywood’s first Black movie star, passed away on Thursday (January 6), press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas confirmed.

Poitier had a groundbreaking film career that spanned decades. He paved the way for Black actors with his performances and his conscious decision to reject roles he felt were demeaning as he purposely chose to portray dignified and intelligent characters. 

“(Blacks) were so new in Hollywood. There was almost no frame of reference for us except as stereotypical, one-dimensional characters,” he once told Oprah Winfrey. “I had in mind what was expected of me — not just what other Blacks expected but what my mother and father expected. And what I expected of myself.”

Poitier won the Oscar of best actor in 1964 for his depiction of an ex-serviceman in Lilies of the Field. His groundbreaking accolades didn’t stop there, Poitier was also the recipient of the Golden Globes’ lifetime achievement honor in 1982; he was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995; he won a Grammy for narrating his autobiography, “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography,” which was published in 2000; and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Keep scrolling to see Poitier’s life through the years. 

A Scene from A Raisin in the Sun
Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier and Diana Sands in “A Rasin in the Sun” in 1954.Photo: Getty Images
The Defiant Ones
Sidney Poitier as Noah Cullen and Tony Curtis (1925 – 2010) as John ‘Joker’ Jackson, in ‘The Defiant Ones’, directed by Stanley Kramer, in 1958.Photo: Getty Images
Sidney Poitier On The Set
On the set of the movie ‘Lilies of the Field’ for which he won the Academy Award for best actor, in Tuscon, Arizona.Photo: Getty Images
At The Lincoln Memorial During March On Washington
American actor Sidney Poitier (left) listens to singer Harry Belafonte (center) as actor Charleton Heston (1923 – 2008) stands with them in the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington DC on August 28, 1963.Photo: Getty Images
Actors At The Washington March
Actors (left to right) Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster and Sidney Poitier attending the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a huge civil rights rally in Washington DC on August 28, 1963. Photo: Getty Images
Publicity Still Of Sidney Poitier
Academy Award winning actor Sidney Poitier holding the Oscar for his role in ‘Lilies of the Field’ in 1964. Photo: Getty Images
Poitier With Oscar
Sidney Poitier holds his Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Lilies Of The Field’.Photo: Getty Images
Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier looks into a mirror and smiles while holding his Best Actor Oscar for director Ralph Nelson’s film, ‘Lilies of the Field’, backstage at the Academy Awards in Santa Monica, California.Photo: Getty Images
Sidney Poitier
At the 36th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on April 13, 1964.Photo: Getty Images
Sidney Poitier
Attending the Governors Ball after the 36th Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Poitier On Set
On the set of ‘To Sir, With Love’.Photo: Getty Images
Katherine Houghton And Sidney Poitier In 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner'
Katherine Houghton puts flower Sidney Poitier’s hair in a scene from the film ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner’, in 1967.Photo: Getty Images
Abbey And Sidney
With jazz singer Abbey Lincoln in September 1967. Photo: Getty Images
Poitier At Resurrection City
Supporting the Poor People’s Campaign at Resurrection City.Photo: Getty Images
Beverly Todd And Sidney Poitier In 'The Lost Man'
Beverly Todd and Sidney Poitier sit in a theatre in a scene from the film ‘The Lost Man’ in 1969.Photo: Getty Images
US actor Sidney Poitier admires his honorary Oscar
Sidney admires his honorary Oscar 24 March, 2002 at the 74th Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA. Photo: Getty Images
Sidney and Denzel at Game Two of the NBA Playoff with the Los Angeles Lakers
With Denzel Washington.Photo: Getty Images
US actress Halle Berry (L) presents US actor Sidne
Halle Berry (L) presents US actor Sidney Poitier with the Brass Ring Award at the 15th Carousel of Hope Ball, a charity gala for childhood diabetes.Photo: Getty Images
Mercedes-Benz Presents the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball - Show
Sidney Poitier and Barbara Davis.Photo: Getty Images
Actor Sydney Poitier and his daughter Sy
With his daughter, Sydney Tamiia Poitier.Photo: Getty Images
Obama Honors Sixteen With Congressional Medal Of Freedom
Barack Obama (R) presents the Medal of Freedom to Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on August 12, 2009.Photo: Getty Images
39th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Morgan Freeman - Backstage & Audience
With Morgan Freeman. Photo: Getty Images North America
43rd NAACP Image Awards - Backstage And Audience
Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte attend the 43rd NAACP Image Awards.Photo: Getty Images
86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Arriving to the 86th Annual Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Brigitte And Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation's 6th Annual Christmas Gala And Fundraiser
Actor Sidney Poitier attends the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children’s Foundation’s 6th Annual Christmas Gala.Photo: Getty Images
2017 TCM Classic Film Festival - The 50th Anniversary Screening of
Sidney during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.Photo: Getty Images
Brigitte And Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation's 6th Annual Christmas Gala And Fundraiser
Sidney Poitier and his wife, Joanna Shimkus.Photo: Getty Images

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