Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier died Thursday, Jan. 6 at the age of 94. Bahama’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, and Clint Watson, the press secretary for the Bahamas’ Prime Minister, all confirmed his death to various sources.
Poitier was the first Black man to win a Best Actor Oscar, earning the accolade for his role in the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.” He was widely recognized for breaking down racial barriers in Hollywood and blazing a trail for Black actors.
Celebrity Net Worth reported that the Bahamian-American actor had a net worth of $20 million. He owned a home in Beverly Hills, Calif. that is worth as much as $10 million today.
Poitier started his acting career on the stage in the 1940s, soon transitioning to film in 1950 with his debut in “No Way Out.” He earned $3,000 for that movie.
In 1967, he starred opposite Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” where he played a Black doctor engaged to a white woman. His salary for that film was $200,000 plus a percentage of the film’s profits.
In 1997, Poitier retired from acting and directing to serve as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan through 2007, ABC News reported. His many titles include actor, diplomat, writer, director, producer and author, and was one of the last surviving stars of what is considered “the Golden Age of Hollywood.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Poitier won several awards, including a lifetime Academy Award for his “remarkable accomplishments as an artist and human being,” ABCNews.com reported. He has also won Grammys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Kennedy Center Honors and other awards. In 2009, Poitier received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barak Obama.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years Joanna Shimkus, six children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
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