Legendary actor Sir Sidney Poitier dies, aged 94

7 January 2022, 16:13 | Updated: 7 January 2022, 17:04

Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94
Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94. Picture: Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

By Jenny Mensah

The legendary Hollywood star and first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar has died at the age of 94, a Bahamian government official has said.

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Sir Sidney Poitier has died, a Bahamian official has confirmed.

The Hollywood icon, who was the first black male to win the Best Actor Oscar, has passed away at 94 years of age.

Poitier was born in Miami on 20th February 1927, but grew up in the Bahamas before returning to the United States where he became a screen legend.

He made history in 1964 when he clinched the Academy of Motion Pictures award for his role in Lillies of the Field.

He went on to appear in dozens of films and television shows and had three box office hits with In the Heat of the Night, - where he delivered the iconic line "They call me MISTER Tibbs" - To Sir, with Love and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Poitier also directed a number of projects and was an international diplomat, serving as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan in between 1997 and 2007, and to UNESCO between 2002 and 2007.

He was knighted in 1974 and then in 2009, he was given the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

Sidney Poitier was born in Miami in 1927
Sidney Poitier was born in Miami in 1927. Picture: Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images

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Whoopi Goldberg was among the first to pay tribute, writing: "If you wanted the sky i would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high..

"To Sir… with Love

"Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars".

George Takei wrote: "The star of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and Lilies of the Field, for which he won Best Actor, was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he opened the very doors of Hollywood."

Lenny Kravitz wrote: "Sir #SidneyPoitier, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible."

More to follow...