Bahamian and American actor and film director, Sidney Poitier had an intensity and grace that was magnetic. His presence in film during the 50s and 60s paved the way for other Black performers.
From his humble beginnings in the Bahamas, his father was a tomato farmer, and the family was very poor. At age 16, Sidney left for New York and while working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, he saw an ad for actors for the American Negro Theatre. The theatre cofounder became impatient with his Caribbean accent and poor reading skills, and marched Sidney out of the building. Sidney later returned to the theatre and was hired as a janitor in exchange for acting lessons.
Breaking down barriers, Sidney Poitier received acclaim for Porgy and Bess (1959), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), and A Patch of Blue (1965), because of his strong roles as epic African American male characters. He continued to break ground in three successful 1967 films which dealt with issues of race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night.
Sidney Poitier passed away aged 94. A true icon and legend.