Los Angeles / Nassau.
Mourning for a cinema legend and a pioneer: after the death of Sidney Poitier, his colleagues, politicians and his family pay tribute to the black Hollywood star and his legacy.
Le Poitier, who grew up in the Bahamas, has died at the age of 94, a Bahamian Foreign Ministry official confirmed to the German news agency on Friday. The country’s Prime Minister, Philip Davis, paid tribute to the actor in a speech. Davis said his light will shine for generations to come.
Her family spoke of great loss and grief on Saturday night. “We are so grateful that he was able to spend his last day with his family and friends,” People magazine quoted in the post. Not only was he a brilliant actor and activist, but also a loving husband and father who always put his family first. The father of six daughters has been married to Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus (78) for over 45 years.
“Sidney was my inspiration, my role model, my friend,” Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman (84) wrote on Twitter. According to People.com, Denzel Washington (67) hailed Poitier as a “gentle man” who opened doors long closed to blacks. Halle Berry, who won an Oscar for her role in the drama “Monster’s Ball” in 2002 as the first black lead actress, hailed Poitier on Instagram as an “iconic trailblazer.”
A pioneer of blacks, Poitier wrote Hollywood history: in 1964, he was the first black to receive the Oscar for best leading actor for “Lys in the Field”. Then 37 years old, he convinced the academy with the portrait of a black worker in the farm of white nuns. Before him, only Hattie McDaniel had won an Oscar as a black woman in 1940 for her supporting role as housekeeper in the melodrama Gone with the Wind.
Dubbed by the queen
The farmer’s son, who grew up in the poorest conditions of the Bahamas, was knighted by the British Queen in 1974. In 2002, he received an Honorary Oscar for his life’s work. In 2009, then-US President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Poitier embodied “dignity and decency” with his unique talent, Obama wrote on Twitter on Friday.
The first black man to kiss a white man
“Sidney was more than one of the best actors in our history,” said US President Joe Biden. “He paved the way for our nation and left a legacy that touches every part of our society today.” Poitier has helped “open the hearts of millions of people and change the way Americans see themselves.”
One of Poitier’s successes is that he was the first black man to kiss a white woman in a Hollywood movie. The scene from the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was shamelessly filmed through the rearview mirror of a taxi in 1967. By the late 1960s, Poitier was considered one of the highest paid film actors. The star of films such as “Escape in Chains”, “Porgy and Bess”, “A Spot in the Sun” and “In the Heat of the Night” made her last feature film in 1997 with the action thriller “The Jackal “.
As “best of the best”, actress Mia Farrow (76) paid tribute to the deceased. “He showed us how to reach for the stars,” Oscar-winning actor Whoopi Goldberg (66, “Ghost, message from Sam”) wrote on Twitter. She will cherish her “immense soul” forever, said talk show legend Oprah Winfrey.
The Academy Awards posted a photo on Twitter from 1964 of Poitier beaming his Oscar trophy. The Academy wrote that he broke down barriers and advanced racial dialogue in the United States through his art. “Few movie stars have had or will have the influence of Poitier, on screen and beyond.” (dpa)