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Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor, director, producer, and diplomat. Poitier is the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
See the fact file below for more information on the Sidney Poitier or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Sidney Poitier worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, 1927 in Miami, Florida, when his parents were visiting from The Bahamas.
- He was the youngest child of Bahamian farmers Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier.
- He was raised in Cat Island, Bahamas with his six siblings.
- He is an American citizen because he was born in the United States.
- When he was 15 years old, he returned to the United States.
- He moved from Miami to New York City when he was 16 years old.
- He worked as a dishwasher before he enlisted in the US Army during World War II.
- After serving in the army, he applied to the American Negro Theatre (ANT) in New York City, but was rejected because of his foreign accent.
- He practiced to speak with an American accent by listening to the radio.
- After six months, he re-applied to ANT and was accepted.
- He began training as an actor in ANT and appeared in several productions.
- In 1946, Sidney Poitier made his Broadway debut in an all-black production of the Greek comedy Lysistrata.
- His first major film role was in the 1950 film No Way Out where he acted the role of Dr. Luther Brooks, a black doctor who treats a prejudiced white criminal.
- Poitier’s acting career continued to blossom as he appeared in films Cry, the Beloved Country (1951) and The Blackboard Jungle (1955).
- In 1958, Sidney became the first black male actor to receive a British Academy Film Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in The Defiant Ones.
- In 1963, Sidney became the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field.
- Poitier performed in the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun in 1959, and its film adaptation in 1961.
- In 1965, he acted in the films The Bedford Incident and A Patch of Blue.
- His 1967 films Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, To Sir, with Love, and In the Heat of the Night made him a box office success.
- Poitier’s role as Virgil Tibbs in the In the Heat of the Night continued in the sequels They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970) and The Organization (1971).
- At the later part of his career as an actor, Poitier received criticism for being repeatedly casted in roles that portray the idealized African-American character who most of the time does not have any sexuality or personality faults.
- Poitier wanted more complex roles but wanted to continue his work as the only African-American then to be cast in leading roles.
- Poitier was recognized for his contribution to American cinema by being awarded the 2001 Honorary Academy Award.
- In 2012, Poitier became the oldest living man to have won the Academy Award for Best Actor.
- Poitier made his directorial debut in the film Buck and the Preacher (1972) in which he and Harry Belafonte starred.
- In 1974, Poitier and Belafonte starred with Bill Cosby in the action comedy film Uptown Saturday Night.
- Poitier’s most successful film is the 1980 comedy Stir Crazy which became the highest-grossing film directed by an African American and held that record for many years.
- Poitier continued to direct a couple of films starring Bill Cosby and himself such as Let’s Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of the Action (1977).
- Fast Forward, the first dance battle movie to be widely popular, was directed by Poitier in 1985.
- Poitier is a multi-hyphenate who has also recorded an album.
- He recited passages from Plato’s writings in his album entitled Poitier Meets Plato which he recorded with composer Fred Katz.
- Poitier became ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan from 1997 until 2007.
- He was also the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO from 2002 to 2007.
- British Academy Film Award, Best Actor in a Leading Role (1958)
- Golden Globe Award, Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama (1963)
- Academy Award, Best Actor in a Leading Role (1964)
- AFI Life Achievement Award (1992)
- SAG Life Achievement Award (1999)
- NAACP Image Award – Hall of Fame Award (2001)
- Honorary Oscar (2002)
- Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009)
- From 1950 to 1965, Poitier was married to Juanita Hardy with whom he has four daughters.
- His second wife is actress Joanna Shimkus with whom he has two daughters. They’ve been married since 1976 until present.
- Poitier has eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Sidney Poitier Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Sidney Poitier across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Elam worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Sidney Poitier who is a Bahamian-American actor, director, producer, and diplomat. Poitier is the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Sidney Poitier Facts
- Being Sidney
- Acting Timeline
- Film Checklist
- Director Poitier
- True Or False
- Role Search
- Movie Posters
- Famous Actors
- Appreciating Sidney
- Quoting Sidney
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Link will appear as Sidney Poitier Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 5, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.