BREAKING: Beloved Bahamian actor and former ambassador Sir Sidney Poitier has died. He was 94. A Broadway play about the trailblazing career of the visionary actor was announced last month. Sir Sidney’s death was confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell. pic.twitter.com/WVJFlog3tC
— Eyewitness News Bahamas (@ewnewsbahamas) January 7, 2022
Sir Sidney Poitier, who was born in Miami and raised in the Bahamas, was the first Black man and Bahamian actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his performance in Lillies of the Field (1963). His groundbreaking work as an actor during the 50s and 60s paved the way for generations of Black actors.
Later in his life, Poitier retreated from the cinema in the late 80s, and while he took on odd acting roles and directed movies like Ghost Dad, he took on the role of elder statesman in both cinematic and diplomatic circles for his home country. He was knighted in 1974 and was appointed Bahamas ambassador to Japan in 1997. In 2002 he received an honorary Oscar, in 2009 he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, and in 2016 a Bafta fellowship.
The Bahamas deputy prime minister, Chester Cooper, said he was “conflicted with great sadness and a sense of celebration when I learned of the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier.”
“We have lost an icon. A hero, a mentor, a fighter, a national treasure,” he added.