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As Hollywood mourns Sidney Poitier, 10 facts you should know about the late movie icon

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Moboluwade Tobilola

Hollywood lost one of its finest actors, Sidney Poitier to the cold hands of death, on Thursday. He was aged 94.

Since the news of his passing broke out, tributes have poured in from Hollywood and around the world, not excluding notable people such as former American president Barrack Obama, incumbent Joe Biden, globally-renowned media personality Oprah Winfrey, and veteran actor Denzel Washington.

Here are 10 things you should know about the iconic actor.

1. He is a Bahamian American. His parents were Bahamian farmers who occasionally went to Miami to sell their produce. Poitier was unexpectedly conceived on one of those trips and got citizenship.

2. Poitier made his breakthrough film role as a high school student in the film Blackboard Jungle. This was after he joined the American negro theater in 1955.

3. He was active in the movie industry from 1946 to 2009 and has played in about 39 movies since.

4. He was the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963.

5. Poitier was also the first Black to receive best actor Oscar. He got the award for “Lilies Of The Field.”

6. The last movie Sidney acted in was ‘The Last Brickmaker in America’ where he played the role of a man who deals with the loss of his wife and the obsolescence of his job before becoming a role model to a 13-year-old who is also lost in life.

7. Poitier was married twice in his lifetime. He was first married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950, until 1965. In 1959, Poitier began a nine-year affair with actress Diahann Carroll. He then married Joanna Shimkus, a Canadian former actress, on January 23, 1976, and they remained married for the rest of his life. He had four daughters with his first wife and two with the second.

8. He was the Bahamian ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007. In April 1997, Poitier was appointed ambassador from the Bahamas to Japan, a position he held until 2007. From 2002 to 2007, he was concurrently the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO.

9. Poitier was named a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, which as a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time, earning him the prefix “Sir”.

10. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the famous Walt Disney company from 1995 to 2003.

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