Oscar winner and colossal star Sidney Poitier dies at 94
– World Affairs SRS
Poitier, winner of the 1964 Best Actor Oscar for Lily of the Field, died in the Bahamas on Thursday, according to Eugene Torchon-Newry, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas.
Few movie stars, black or white, had such an impact both on and off the screen.
Before Poitier, the son of Bahamian tomato farmers, no black actor had a sustained career as a lead artist or could produce a film based on his own star power.
Before Poitier, few black actors were allowed a break from the stereotype of bug-eyed servants and smiling entertainers. Before Poitier, Hollywood filmmakers rarely attempted to tell the story of a black person.
Poitier’s rise reflected profound changes in the country in the 1950s and 1960s. As racial attitudes developed and segregation laws were challenged and fallen during the civil rights era, Poitier was the artist to whom a cautious industry turned to stories of progress.
He is the only remaining black criminal who befriends a racist white prisoner (Tony Curtis) in The Defiant Ones.
He was a court office worker who falls in love with a blind blonde girl in A Patch of Blue. He was a handyman at Lily of the Field who builds a church for a group of nuns.
In one of the greats of stage and screen, he was the ambitious young father whose dreams clashed with other family members in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
The debate about diversity in Hollywood inevitably turns into Poitier’s story.
With your beautiful, flawless face; Sharp stare and disciplined style, he was for years not only the most popular black movie star, but the only one.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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