Feb. 20th, 1927
Miami, Florida, USA
6' 2 1/2"
Sidney Poitier's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2007 - Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
2004 - Tell Them Who You Are
1997 - The Jackal
1992 - Sneakers
1988 - Little Nikita
1975 - The Wilby Conspiracy
1974 - Uptown Saturday Night
1972 - Buck and the Preacher
1967 - In the Heat of the Night
1967 - To Sir, with Love
1966 - Duel at Diablo
1965 - The Greatest Story Ever Told
1964 - The Long Ships
1963 - Lilies of the Field
1962 - Pressure Point
1961 - Paris Blues
1959 - Porgy and Bess
1958 - The Defiant Ones
1957 - Edge of the City
1957 - Band of Angels
1955 - Blackboard Jungle
1950 - No Way Out
Guest TV Roles[none found]
A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas, (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of a dirt farmer. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with his brother, in order to forestall a growing tendency toward delinquency. In the U.S., Poitier first experienced the racial chasm that divides the country, a great shock to a boy coming from a society with a black majority. A determination to find and create opportunities for blacks was born in him because of the poor treatment he received on the streets of Miami. At 18, he went to New York, did menial jobs and slept in a bus terminal toilet. A brief stint in the Army as a worker at a veteran's hospital was followed by more menial jobs in Harlem. An impulsive audition at the American Negro Theatre was rejected so forcefully that Poitier dedicated the next six months to overcoming his accent and performance ineptness. On his second try, he was accepted. He was spotted in a rehearsal and given a bit part in a Broadway production of "Lysistrata," for which he got excellent reviews. By the end of 1949, he was having to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). Poitier's performance as a doctor treating a white bigot got him plenty of notice and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and prominent than most black actors of the time were getting. Nevertheless, the roles were still less interesting and prominent than those white actors routinely obtained. But seven years later, after turning down several projects he considered demeaning, Poitier got a number of roles that catapulted him into a category rarely if ever achieved by a black man of that time, that of starring leading man. One of the films, The Defiant Ones (1958), gave Poitier his first Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Five years later, he won the Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963), the first black to win for a leading role. Poitier maintained activity on stage, on screen, and in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. His roles in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and To Sir, with Love (1967) were for their time landmarks in the breaking down of social barriers between blacks and whites, and Poitier's talent, conscience, integrity, and inherent likability placed him on equal footing with the white stars of the day. He took on directing and producing chores in the Seventies, achieving success in both arenas. Although he has reduced the frequency of his roles in recent years, he remains one of the most respected and beloved figures in American cinema of the twentieth century.
- First black actor to place autograph, hand, and footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (June 23, 1967).
- Considered for the male lead for _The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)_ (qv), opposite 'Diana Sands' (qv), who had played the part of "Doris" on Broadway.
- Along with his name uttered in the lyrics, a photograph of Poitier is held by 'Busta Rhymes' (qv) in the 1998 rap video "Gimme Some More".
- Has four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters .
- Former brother-in-law of light-heavyweight champion 'Archie Moore (I)' (qv).
- Children: 'Beverly Poitier-Henderson' (qv), 'Pamela Poitier' (qv), 'Sherri Poitier' (qv), Gina Poitier (with Juanita Hardy); 'Anika Poitier' (qv), 'Sydney Tamiia Poitier' (qv) (with 'Joanna Shimkus' (qv)).
- Was named #22 greatest actor on the 50 Greatest Screen Legends by the American Film Institute
- In 1963 he became the first black man to win an Academy Award, for his role as Homer Smith in _Lilies of the Field (1963)_ (qv).