Heart failure is listed as the cause of death for actor Sidney Poitier, the first Black actor to win an Oscar, who died on Jan 6, 2022. Also reportedly listed on Poitier’s death certificate were underlying health issues of prostate cancer and alzheimer’s dementia.
It was announced that the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” star passed away at the age of 94 in his Beverly Hills home on Jan. 6. Poitier was known for the trailblazing roles he took on during his career, breaking down many stereotypes of a Black man.
One of his first films was the 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz-directed movie “No Way Out,” where Poitier plays Dr. Luther Brooks, who, in the film, faced a lot of prejudice for being the first Black doctor in the hospital. In 1963, he played Homer Smith in “Lilies of the Field.” This was the movie that earned Poitier the Oscar.
Another popular film of Poitier’s is the 1967 movie “In the Heat of the Night,” where he played a detective working to solve a murder investigation. He took on the daring role of Dr. John Wade Prentice in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” where he goes to meet his white fiancée’s parents. This movie helped spearhead discussion surrounding interracial love and marriage.
Poitier also contributed to the civil rights movement and became friends with the leaders of the movement like Dr. Martin Luther King. In 1963m Poitier was on hand at the Lincoln Memorial for the historic March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. He also took part in another demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial called, “Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom” where thousands gathered to commemorate the third anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education decision.
The ruling declared segregation in schools unconstitutional.
Eleven days after his passing, Poitier’s daughter, Sydney Poitier, penned a sweet tribute to him on Instagram. During the lengthy statement, she focused on her father’s “goodness” as a person.
She wrote, “What I really want people to know is how GOOD he was. I know people know he was good, but they don’t know the depth of his goodness. That it permeated every cell of his being. The sort of goodness that prevented him from killing even the tiniest of bugs. Not a one.”
Sydney later added, “He had a deep reverence for all life, and a true awareness of our interconnectedness. He knew on a cellular level that if he hurt anyone or anything he hurt everyone and everything.”
More Stories from Our Partners:
Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis Get Harlem Street Named After Them
Homes Above $800,000 Drive Bidding Wars in the U.S. Housing Market
“It’s Only Right For Me To Go With ‘Dem Goons’ From Dade County” | Kendrick Perkins Says Miami Heat Are Dark Horse Title Favorites