Sidney poitier biography and information
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Acting career picks up Poitier served as an understudy one who learns a performer's lines in case that performer is unable to perform for actor-singer Harry Belafonte — in a play called Days of Our Youth, and an appearance one night led to a small role in a production of the Greek comedy Lysistrata. Breaking down barriers In Poitier appeared in three hit movies.
Later years Poitier and his wife, actress Joanna Shimkus, travel a great deal because they live in California and have children in New York. For More Information Bergman, Carol. Poitier, You have been my favorite actor since I was a child Your book entitled "Sidney Poiter" was the first book I "wanted" to read. I am 58 years old now and I am reading it again I am now in the chapter "Joanna". My daughter is young but she knows who Sidney Poitier is.
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I made sure of that You truly are an inspiration and I just wanted to thank you Poitier, You are my favorite actor ever, I have all of your movies and your book. I have a lot of respect for you. You have such dignity and it is so hard to find in people this day. My wish was always to have met you. The first time I saw Sidney i fell in love with him, the parts he played was so dignified, I could see right away that he is a kind and giving man, and so very humane.
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When he came to New York from the Caribbean to become an actor, he was so impoverished at first that he slept in the bus station. Mankiewicz and told him he was 27, when actually only 22 years old. Stanley Kramer approached him about co-starring in The Defiant Oneswhich made him a bigger star, but admitted that if he did not take the role of "Porgy" in Porgy and Bess for Samuel Goldwyn it might kill his chances to get the role in The Defiant Ones as Goldwyn had that much clout in Hollywood.
Although this is often mistaken to have been an honorary knighthood, it is actually a substantive knighthood, as Poitier is a citizen of The Bahamas, a Commonwealth realm which at the time of his appointment recognized the British Honours System. He is thus entitled to be known as Sir Sidney Poitier, but does not himself use this title. His Stir Crazy was the highest grossing film directed by a black filmmaker until Scary Moviedirected by Keenen Ivory Wayans almost 20 years later.
While trying to sing with some fellow actors in Off-Broadway theatre he found he was tone deaf. Younger brother of Cyril Poitier. In the s, for many of his films, he was paid in a way known as "dollar one participation" which basically means he begins collecting a cut of the film's gross from the first ticket sold.
Has an honorary doctorate degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. First black actor to place autograph, hand, and footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre June 23, Future wife Joanna Shimkus encouraged him to direct his first film, Buck and the Preacherafter he and the original director could not agree creatively.
During the early s a man named David Hampton conned his way into the homes of several wealthy and prominent New Yorkers including a dean at Columbia University by falsely claiming to be Poitier's son.
Playwright John Guarefascinated by the way the story illustrated the magic that the mere mention of Poiter's name held for people of his generation especially white peoplebased his play "Six Degrees of Separation" on Hampton's story.
The play was adapted into the movie Six Degrees of Separation inwith Will Smith as the character based upon Hampton. Band of Angels also examined racial tensions. In The Defiant OnesPoitier was cast as a prisoner who escapes with a white inmate Tony Curtis ; the two must overcome their racial prejudices in order to elude the police. The film, which was considered provocative at the time because of its call for racial harmony, earned Poitier an Oscar nomination for best actor; he became the first African American male performer to earn a nod in the lead category.
He also earned acclaim for his work in Porgy and Bess ; he portrayed the disabled Porgy, who loves Bess Dorothy Dandridgea drug addict being pursued by a number of suitors. His Academy Award win marked the first time a competitive Oscar had been awarded to an African American male.
Poitier was also just the second black actor to win an Academy Award Hattie McDaniel had won a best supporting actress Oscar for Gone with the Wind . After appearing in the biblical epic The Greatest Story Ever ToldPoitier portrayed a man who befriends a blind girl Elizabeth Hartman in A Patch of Blue ; the moving drama also starred Shelley Winters as her abusive mother. After the western Duel at DiabloPoitier starred in a series of acclaimed films.
In To Sir, with Lovehe portrayed a charismatic schoolteacher who earns the respect of his students at an inner-city school. Next was In the Heat of the Nighta crime drama that focused on the uneasy partnership that develops between a bigoted white Southern police chief played by Rod Steiger and Virgil Tibbs, an intellectual black Philadelphia detective Poitier.
The success of the movies made Poitier the top box-office draw of the year. In Poitier made his directorial debut with Buck and the Preacheran amiable western in which he played a con-man preacher; his costars were Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee.
He next helmed A Warm Decembera melodrama that featured Poitier as a widowed doctor who falls in love with a woman Esther Anderson who has sickle cell anemia. Both films were disappointments at the box office, but the comedy Uptown Saturday Night was an enormous hit, thanks to the chemistry between Poitier and costars Bill Cosby and Belafonte.
Poitier did not act in Stir Crazywhich featured Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as a pair of losers who mistakenly are sent to prison; the film was an enormous box-office hit.
Poitier had less success with Hanky Pankywhich teamed Wilder and his real-life wife, Gilda Radnerand Fast Forwarda musical about break dancers.
About Sidney Poitier
After more than a decadelong break from acting, in Poitier appeared in the action thrillers Shoot to Kill and Little Nikita. His other films include Sneakers and The Jackalbut most of his later credits were made-for-television movies, notably Separate but Equal and Mandela and de Klerkin which he played Thurgood Marshall and Nelson Mandelarespectively. A waiter sat with him every night for several weeks helping him learn to read the newspaper. He only served briefly as a mental hospital attendant and feigned insanity to get discharged,  after which he worked as a dishwasher until a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theatre.
Poitier joined the North American Negro Theatre, but was rejected by audiences. Contrary to what was expected of African American actors at the time, Poitier's tone deafness made him unable to sing. On his second attempt at the theater, he was noticed and given a leading role in the Broadway production Lysistratafor which, though it ran a failing four days, he received an invitation to understudy for Anna Lucasta.
Sidney Poitier Biography
Zanuck in the film No Way Out His performance in No Way Outas a doctor treating a Caucasian bigot played by Richard Widmarkwas noticed and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and more prominent than those most African American actors of the time were offered.
Poitier's breakout role was as a member of an incorrigible high school class in Blackboard Jungle Poitier was the first male actor of African Bahamian descent to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award for The Defiant Ones James Baskett was the first African American male to receive an Oscar, an Honorary Academy Award for his performance as Uncle Remus in the Walt Disney production of Song of the South inwhile Hattie McDaniel predated them both, winning as Best Supporting Actress for her role in 's Gone with the Windmaking her the first person of African descent to be nominated for and receive an Oscar.
His satisfaction at this honor was undermined by his concerns that this award was more of the industry congratulating itself for having him as a token and it would inhibit him from asking for more substantive considerations afterward. He acted in the first production of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway inand later starred in the film version released in Inhe was the most successful draw at the box office, the commercial peak of his career, with three popular films, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner ; To Sir, with Love and In the Heat of the Night.
The last film featured his most successful character, Virgil Tibbsa PhiladelphiaPennsylvaniadetective whose subsequent career was the subject of two sequels: They Call Me Mister Tibbs! Poitier began to be criticized for being typecast as over-idealized African American characters who were not permitted to have any sexuality or personality faults, such as his character in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.
Poitier was aware of this pattern himself, but was conflicted on the matter. He wanted more varied roles; but he also felt obliged to set an example with his characters, by challenging old stereotypes as he was the only major actor of African descent being cast in leading roles in the American film industry, at that time.
For instance, inhe turned down an opportunity to play the lead in an NBC television production of Othello with that spirit in mind. InPoitier received the Honorary Academy Award for his overall contribution to American cinema. With the death of Ernest Borgnineinhe became the oldest living man to have won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was given a standing ovation. Jolie thanked him for all his Hollywood contributions, stating "we are in your debt". Poitier gave a brief acceptance speech, telling his peers to "keep up the wonderful work" to warm applause.
Poitier directed several films, the most successful being the Richard Pryor - Gene Wilder comedy Stir Crazywhich for many years was the highest-grossing film directed by a person of African descent. Poitier replaced original director, Joseph Sargent. Poitier directed the first popular dance battle movie, Fast Forward in Poitier recorded an album with the composer Fred Katz called Poitier Meets Platoin which Poitier recites passages from Plato 's writings.