Sidney Poitier, first black winner of best actor Oscar, dies aged 94


Sidney Poitier has died, aged 94. The Hollywood star was known for films including To Sir, With Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and Lilies of the Field, for which he became the first black man to win a Best Actor Oscar.

The news was announced by Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.

 “We’ve lost a great a Bahamian and I’ve lost a personal friend,” Mitchell said,

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said that he was “conflicted with great sadness and a sense of celebration” when he learned of the iconic actor’s death.

“Sadness that he would no longer be here to tell him how much he means to us, but celebration that he did so much to show the world that those from the humblest beginnings can change the world and that we gave him his flowers while he was with us,” Cooper said.

The Bahamian-American star was granted US citizenship after being unexpectedly born in Miami while his parents were visiting Florida.

Sir Sidney Poitier grew up in the Bahamas but moved to the US when he was 15 and begin his illustrious career in Hollywood during the 1950s. He was subsequently knighted by the Queen in 1974.

Poitier’s films included roles in In the Heat of the Night, To Sir, With Love (below) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the 1963 film Lilies of the Field for which he won his first Academy Award for best male actor, the first African-American man to do so. 


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