January 18, 2022

Sidney Poitier, first Black man to win Best Actor Oscar, dies at 94

In 1964, Sidney Poitier received an Academy Award for Best Actor for “Lilies of the Field.”

WASHINGTON — Sidney Poitier, the legendary actor who made history as the first Black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor, has died at the age of 94.

The Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed Poitier’s death to several media outlets. The press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas confirmed to CNN that the actor died Thursday night. A family source also confirmed his death to NBC News

Poitier starred in such films as “The Defiant Ones,” which earned him his first Oscar nomination, “A Patch of Blue,” “In the Heart of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” 

In 1964, he received an Academy Award for Best Actor for “Lilies of the Field.” In 2001, Poitier was also presented with an honorary Academy Award.

The noted actor was born in Miami and grew up in the Bahamas and the United States, according to his Academy Awards bio. In addition to his award-winning acting career, Poitier directed nine movies.

In 2009, President Barack Obama presented the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Poitier. 

In 2021, Arizona State University unveiled the Sidney Poitier New American Film School. The university said at the time that it was expanding its existing film program into its own school, in order to create one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film schools.