Sidney Poitier

Actor, Director
Birthplace: Miami, FL

Sidney Poitier's family moved to the Bahamas soon after Sidney was born. As a teenager, Poitier moved back to Miami to live with his brother and work as a drugstore messenger. After a visit from the Ku Klux Klan, Poitier decided to move to New York City. He eventually won a part on stage and one role led to another. After many years in the theater, Poitier turned his sights to Hollywood and movies. Poitier was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Defiant Ones (1958). He won the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963). In 1959, Poitier broke another barrier when he kissed a white woman in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Poitier's other successful films of the 1960s included The Bedford Incident, A Touch of Blue, and In the Heat of the Night. Civil rights advocates praised Poitier for portraying dignified characters who demanded respect.

Related Resources

Web Resources
Mr. Showbiz: Sidney Poitier
More biographical information.

Selected Movies
From Whence Cometh My Help 1949
No Way Out 1950
Cry, the Beloved Country 1951
Go, Man, Go! 1954
Blackboard Jungle 1955
The Defiant Ones 1958
Porgy and Bess 1959
A Raisin in the Sun 1961
Paris Blues 1961
The Greatest Story Ever Told 1965
In the Heat of the Night 1967
To Sir With Love 1967
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1967
Brother John 1972
Little Nikita 1988
Shoot To Kill 1988
Sneakers 1992
A Century of Cinema 1994
A Good Day to Die 1995
The Jackal 1997
Mandela and de Klerk 1997

Black History Month  Return to the Encyclopedia
of Prominent African Americans

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