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Actor Sidney Poitier dies at age 94, according to reports

POITIER
Posted at 8:29 AM, Jan 07, 2022

Legendary actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94, according to reports.

TMZ said the Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed his death Friday.

In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to take home an Academy Award for Best Actor. Poitier won the honor for his portrayal of Homer Smith in the 1963 film, "Lilies of the Field," which was filmed in the Arizona desert.

Poitier was a groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen.

Sidney Poitier-Film School
FILE - Actor Sidney Poitier appears with his Oscar for best actor, for his role in "Lillies of the Field," at the 36th Annual Academy Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 13, 1964. Arizona State University has named its new film school after Poitier. The university, which is expanding its existing film program into its own school, says it has invested millions of dollars in technology to create one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film schools. The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will be unveiled at a ceremony on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (AP Photo, File)

Few movie stars had such an influence both on and off the screen. Before Poitier, the son of Bahaman tomato farmers, no Black actor had a sustained career as a lead performer or could get a film produced based on his own star power.

Before Poitier, few Black actors were permitted a break from the stereotypes of bug-eyed servants and grinning entertainers.

Arizona State University honored the legendary film actor last year by naming its film school after him.

The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU would become home to hundreds of aspiring storytellers on multiple campuses. Students will be provided a space to create work that embraces diversity and inclusion.

Barack Obama, Sidney Poitier
FILE - President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier during ceremonies in the East Room at the White House in Washington on Aug. 12, 2009. Arizona State University has named its new film school after Poitier. The university, which is expanding its existing film program into its own school, says it has invested millions of dollars in technology to create one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film schools. The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will be unveiled at a ceremony on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)