'True American Icon': Sidney Poitier, First Black Actor to Win Oscar, Dies at 94

© AFP 2022 / LUCY NICHOLSONIn this file photo taken on March 11, 2000, US actor Sidney Poitier receives a standing ovation as he receives the Life Achievement Award at the Sixth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. - Sidney Poitier, Hollywood's first major Black movie star, has died, the deputy prime minister of the Bahamas said on January 7, 2022. Poitier, who held dual US and Bahamian nationality, was "an icon, a hero, a mentor, a fighter, a national treasure," Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said on his official Facebook page.
In this file photo taken on March 11, 2000, US actor Sidney Poitier receives a standing ovation as he receives the Life Achievement Award at the Sixth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. - Sidney Poitier, Hollywood's first major Black movie star, has died, the deputy prime minister of the Bahamas said on January 7, 2022. Poitier, who held dual US and Bahamian nationality, was an icon, a hero, a mentor, a fighter, a national treasure, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said on his official Facebook page.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2022
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In 1964, Poitier became the first-ever black man to be awarded an Oscar as best actor for his performance in “Lilies of the Field" - and he remained the only one before Denzel Washington secured the prize in 2002.
Iconic American actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94, according to multiple media reports citing sources close to the actor's family.
The cause of death has not been immediately disclosed.
Poitier made history as the first black actor to receive an Oscar as best actor for his performance in the movie "Lilies of the Field", paving way for other black performers across America. Among his other landmark works are films like “A Patch of Blue,” “To Sir, With Love,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
When receiving his Oscar in 2002, another prominent black actor Denzel Washington referenced Poitier's work, saying during his speech: "I’ll be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps."
Poitier's death was met with an immediate wave of condolences on social media, with media personalities and fans paying tribute to him and his artistic way.
Among those mourning Poitier's death were actors George Takei, Jeffrey Wright and Viola Davis, along with TV host Piers Morgan, former basketball player Rex Chapman, musician Lenny Kravitz and Democratic politicians Chuck Schumer and Benny G. Thompson.
The only Black actor before Poitier to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel, who secured the Academy Award in 1939 as best supporting actress for "Gone With the Wind.''
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