It was announced today that the film legend has died at the age of 94. What a treasure he was:
Poitier was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor when he was acknowledged for his portrayal of a good-hearted handyman for Arizona nuns in Lilies of the Field (1963).
He received an earlier best actor nomination for his turn as a convict on the run in The Defiant Ones (1958).
In 2002, he received an honorary Oscar from the Academy “for his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the motion picture industry with dignity, style and intelligence throughout the world.”
Poitier was the first actor to star in mainstream Hollywood movies that depicted a Black man in a non-stereotypical fashion, and his influence, especially during the 1950s and ’60s as role model and image-maker, was immeasurable.
His deliberate and lilting voice contained grace and his mesmeric manner made him one of the most beloved stars in Hollywood history.
Read more. But first, take a moment to watch this classic scene from “Lilies of the Field.” Rest in peace, Mr. Poitier. And thank you.