Legendary actor, Sidney Poitier, is dead.
The American-Bahamian actor, who died on Friday, January 7, 2022 at tbe age of 94, was the first black man to win the prestigious Academy Award known as the Oscar Award.
Poitier won the Academy Award for best actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963.
His demise was confirmed by the office of the Bahamas’ minister of foreign affairs, Fred Mitchell.
Poitier, who featured in so many blockbusters and movies, was a pacesetting thespian, diplomat and humanitarian.
He was born in Miami and grew up on a tomato farm in the Bahamas and later moved to New York at the age of 16.
Tributes are already pouring in as actors and celebrities were eulogising the legendary actor’s virtues.
Nigerian actor, Sani Muazu, mourning the demise of the legendary actor, said, “So sad, Guess who is coming to dinner? The first black Academy Award winning actor Sidney Poitier is gone.
“Some of his memorable titles include ‘Guess who is coming to dinner’, ‘The Jackal’, ‘The lilies of the field’, ‘In the heat of the night’ and ‘To sir with Love’
“Condolences to the industry and his family,” Muazu wrote.
For his part, American actor, Whoopi Goldberg, said Poitier ‘showed us how to reach for the stars’
“If you wanted the sky, I would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high,” wrote the Sister Act star.
“To Sir… with Love. Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars.”
“My condolences to his family and to all of us as well,” she wrote on her verified Twitter handle.
Sidney Poitier had a short stint in the Army and later did odd jobs while taking acting lessons, on his journey to becoming a star on stage and the screen.
In 1958, his appearance in movie titles ‘The Defiant Ones’ earned Poitier his first Oscar nomination, an historic achievement for a black man in a lead category at the time.
Five years later, he went one better, taking the glory for ‘Lilies of the Field’, in which he played a handyman who helped German nuns to build a chapel in the desert.
Bollywood star, Anil Kapoor, who made fame in the movie ‘The Slumdog Millionaire’, said on twitter that Sidney Poitier was his childhood idol.
“Sidney Poitier, my childhood idol, lifelong inspiration & star of some of my favourite films… Forever your fan & admirer… Rest in Peace,” wrote Kapoor.
Former basketballer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson in his tribute, said Poitier was a “true gentleman” and “legend”.
“RIP to a true gentleman, legend, and the first African-American Academy Award winner for Best Actor Sidney Poitier,” said the former LA Lakers player.
Sidney Poitier was a regular on the big screen at a time of racial segregation in the US, appearing in a Patch of Blue in 1965, and then Heat of the Night the year after, followed by Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, playing a black man with a white fiancée.
He went on to direct a raft of films, and a Broadway play about his life and career was announced last month.