A trailblazer who broke down barriers for Black actors, Sidney Poitier had a robust career that spanned decades and shattered stereotypes. He made history as the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor and was a major box office draw. Below his friends and colleagues remember one of the finest performers in American history.
1. Harry Belafonte
“For over 80 years, Sidney and I laughed, cried and made as much mischief as we could. He was truly my brother and partner in trying to make this world a little better. He certainly made mine a whole lot better.”
Read about Buck and the Preacher here.
2. Richard Widmark
“Lasting friendships are not the norm in this business, but I met Sidney in 1949. We were making a picture called No Way Out… We became good friends. I watched with great admiration the young fellow I met so long ago develop into a brilliant actor, director, and writer who’s lent dignity to our profession and has become a man we all admire.”
Read about No Way Out here.
3. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“He is a man who never lost his concern for the least of God’s children.”
4. Denzel Washington
“He meant everything to me. He was a positive example of elegance and taste. He was a source of pride for millions of African Americans. He was a great movie star that was appreciated by millions of people all around the world.”
5. Rosa Parks
“He’s always been a great actor and a role model.”
6. Morgan Freeman
“Sidney was my inspiration, my guiding light, my friend.”
7. Director Stanley Kramer
“Sidney Poitier, I know you’re special, and I want you to know you made a contribution in my life I’ll never be able to repay.”
Read about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner here.
8. Lee Grant
“I was around when Sidney first started out. Maybe that’s why his amazing talent was stamped so indelibly on my mind... that talent is a sizzling mixture of intellect, passion, rage, and pure joy.”
9. Tony Curtis
“Working with Sidney was a great privilege for me. He’s one of the finest men I’ve ever known.”