Sidney Poitier took his final curtain call on January 6, 2022. He is the very first Black actor to win an Academy Award for his role in “Lilies of the Field.” In his own way, Sidney Poitier changed the way America saw itself.
Sidney Poitier was a true trail-blazer. In many respects, Sidney Poitier was Hollywood’s first African-American movie star; and, as such, he was extremely instrumental for the diversity in the motion picture industry. Without doubt, he paved the way and opened the doors for a generation of Black actors in film.
Sidney Poitier was capable of playing any role with unparalleled vocal precision, poise and absolute perfection — from the semi-comedic role in “Lilies in the Field,” to the “tough,” no-nonsense teacher in “To Sir With Love,” to Philadelphia Detective Virgil Tibbs trying to solve a crime in the “Jim Crow” south in the film “In The Heat of the Night.”
Sidney Poitier’s role in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” challenged the bigotry, discrimination, and prejudices of the 60’s, an era that, supposedly, focused on equality, love, and brotherhood. In “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Sidney Poitier gave us a chance, a unique opportunity, to look deeply into ourselves.
Sidney Poitier epitomized grace, eloquence, and dignity on the “big screen.” Indeed, he was a talent that simply cannot be duplicated.
So, Sidney Poitier, take your final bow. And, indeed: To Sir. . . With Love.
John Di Genio and Albert J. Cupo