The early life and work of sidney poitier

He grew up with his family on remote Cat Islandin the Bahamas. His mother was called Evelyn and his father was called Reginald James Poitier. At 17, he moved to New York City and got several menial jobs. During this time, he was arrested for vagrancy being homeless after having to leave his home for not paying rent.

The early life and work of sidney poitier

Miami, Florida African American actor Actor Sidney Poitier's presence in film during the s and s opened up the possibility for bigger and better roles for African American performers. His father was a tomato farmer, and the family was very poor. Still, Poitier later told Frank Spotnitz in American Film that his father "had a wonderful sense of himself.

Every time I took a part, from the first part, from the first day, I always said to myself, 'This must reflect well on his name. Poitier returned to Miami at age fifteen to live with his older brother Cyril.

Poitier left for New York City at age sixteen, serving briefly in the army. He then worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Seeing an ad for actors in a newspaper, he went to a tryout at the American Negro Theater. Theater cofounder Frederick O'Neal became impatient with Poitier's Caribbean accent and poor reading skills.

Poitier, determined to succeed, continued working in the restaurant but listened to radio broadcasts in his spare time to improve his speaking.

He later returned to the theater and was hired as a janitor in exchange for acting lessons.

Acting career picks up Poitier served as an understudy one who learns a performer's lines in case that performer is unable to perform for actor-singer Harry Belafonte — in a play called Days of Our Youth, and an appearance one night led to a small role in a production of the Greek comedy Lysistrata.

On opening night of the latter play Poitier was so nervous that he delivered the wrong lines and ran off the stage; still, his brief appearance so impressed critics that he ended up getting more work. Poitier made his film debut in the feature No Way Out, playing a doctor tormented by the racist one who is prejudiced against other races brother of a man whose life he could not save.

Tony Curtis — play prison escapees who are chained together; their struggle helps them look past their differences and learn to respect each other. In the s Poitier began to make his mark on American popular culture.

After appearing in the film version of Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun, in a role he had developed on the stage, Poitier took the part of an American serviceman in Germany in Lilies of the Field Breaking down barriers In Poitier appeared in three hit movies.

In To Sir, With Love he played a schoolteacher, while in In the Heat of the Night he played Virgil Tibbs, a black detective from the North who helps solve a murder in a southern town and wins the respect of the prejudiced police chief there.

The film was Hollywood's first love story between members of different races that did not end tragically. Reflecting on the feelings of filmmakers during this period, Poitier remarked to Susan Ellicott of the London Times, "I suited their need. I was clearly intelligent.

I was a pretty good actor. I believed in brotherhood, in a free society.

Legend of American Cinema

I hated racism, segregation [separation based on race]. And I was a symbol against those things. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The early life and work of sidney poitier

After an argument with the film's director, Poitier took over; though he and Belafonte urged Columbia to hire another director, a studio official saw footage Poitier had shot and encouraged him to finish the film himself.

Poitier went on to direct three features starring comedian Bill Cosby — in the s: They also worked together on the comedy Ghost Dadwhich was a disaster. Poitier also directed the hit comedy Stir Crazyas well as several other features.

Poitier took only a handful of film roles in the s, but in he played Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall — in the television film Separate but Equal.

In he returned to the big screen for the comedy-drama Sneakers, which costarred Robert Redford — and River Phoenix — The AFI tribute to Poitier also took place in ; in his speech he welcomed young filmmakers into the fold and urged them to "be true to yourselves and be useful to the journey," reported Daily Variety.

Later years Poitier and his wife, actress Joanna Shimkus, travel a great deal because they live in California and have children in New York.


Poitier returned to television for 's western drama Children of the Dust. The latter follows the story of Nelson Mandela's — last years in prison to his election as leader of South Africa.

Both received mixed reviews. In April of that year, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography the story of his own life was published.

In February Poitier won a Grammy award for best spoken-word album for his reading of the book.Sidney Poitier - Hollywood trailblazer - Poitier’s first credited film role was Dr.

Luther Brooks, a black doctor who treats a bigoted white criminal, in No Way Out (). The movie established a significant pattern both for Poitier himself and for the black actors who followed him: by refusing roles that played to racial stereotypes, Poitier pushed the . Hand color tinted photo of Tony Curtis & Sidney Poitier from the movie, The Defiant Ones.

Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz; June 3, ) is an American film actor. He has played a variety of roles, from light comic, such as the musician on the run from gangsters in Some Like It Hot, to serious dramatic roles, such as an escaped convict in The Defiant Ones, which earned him a nomination.

Sidney Poitier’s early life, childhood, and education Sidney Poitier was born to mother Evelyn and father Reginald James Poitier on February 20, His parents were the poor Bahamian farmers who lived in Cat Island and used to sell tomatoes in Miami.

Early life. Sidney Poitier's parents were Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, Bahamian farmers who owned a farm on Cat Island and traveled to Miami to sell tomatoes and other produce.


Reginald worked as a cab driver in Nassau, Bahamas. Poitier was the youngest of seven surviving children, and was born in Miami while his parents were visiting. His birth was two months premature Children: 6, including Sydney Tamiia Poitier. In his autobiography, "Measure of a Man", Sidney Poitier talks about his failures as an actor, his struggles with life, and his encounters with nature.

Poitier writes in a straight-forward style, making the book an enjoyable read.5/5(5). Sidney Poitier Early Life.

Life Beyond Measure: Sidney Poitier CHILDHOOD AND EARLY LIFE The first Black Academy Award winner for Best Actor, Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, , in . Early life, they call me Mr. Poitier Edit. Sidney Poitier was born in Miami, Florida in to a pair of illegal immigrants from the Bahamas. His father, Reginald Pedro Poitier, was a fruit picker and his mother, Evita Poitier, was a attheheels.comtion: Actor, director. During the early s a man named David Hampton conned his way into the homes of several wealthy and prominent New Yorkers (including a dean at Columbia University) by .

Sidney was born on 20th February in the home of Reginald James & Evelyn Poitier who was farmers by profession. His parents owned a farm on the Cat Island & they sell their products in Miami.

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