Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor, has died at the age of 94.

Sidney Poitier, The legendary star, the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor, has died at the age of 94, Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell confirmed to CBS News on Friday. Poitier’s death was reported by the Mitchell family but no other details were available.

Poitiers, who had American and Bahamian dual nationalities, were “a symbol, a hero, a guide, a warrior, a national treasure,” Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper told his official. Facebook page.

Poitier’s life was a series of “firsts.” In 1958, he was the first black actor to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his role as a fugitive convicted of chaining up Tony Curtis in “The Defensive Ones”.

When he was nominated again in 1964, he received the Academy Award for “Lilies of the Field”. He was not only the first black actor to do so, he was the only one until 2002.

He was the first black man to kiss a white woman in the 1965 film A Patch of Blue.

He gave memorable performances in Academy Award-winning films such as “In the Heat of the Night”, “To Sir, With Love” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.

In 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of the United States – the nation’s highest civilian award – by Barack Obama.

Actor Sidney Poitier won the 2009 Presidential Medal
Actor Sidney Poitier receives the Presidential Medal for Independence from President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on August 12, 2009.

Andrew Horror / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Sydney Poitier embodied dignity and compassion,” Obama said Has tweeted that On Friday, he said, “Reveals the power of movies and brings us closer. He also opened the doors for a generation of actors.”

Poitier told CBS News that his career choices were less about being “first” and more about the image of his characters. He will not, he In 2013 Leslie told Stalin, Play someone who is immoral or cruel. “If you look at my life, you’ll see that I did not. I never did.”

“I did not go into the film industry to be identified as someone else’s view of me,” Poitier told Stalin. He said I would not take any role that would negatively reflect my father, mother and my values.

“My father was a tomato farmer. There is a phrase that he or she worked their fingers into the bone. Well, that’s my dad. And he’s a good man.”

Sidney Poitier, the youngest of seven children, was born three months ago, and his Bahamian parents were in Miami to sell tomatoes.

Unsure of whether he would survive, his father bought a small casket, while his mother consulted a palm reader.

“The woman took his hand and began to speak to my mother: ‘Don’t worry about your son. He will survive,'” Poitier recalled. These are the words she said, “He will walk with kings.”

It fulfilled: “Everything she said, including what happens with kings, yes.”

President Joe Biden was one of those who paid tribute to Bodier after his death. His statement said:

“Sydney was more than one of the greatest actors in our history. His iconic performance in films like Opponents, A grape in the sun, Guess who is coming for dinner, And In the heat of the night It was a mirror to the racial mindset of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. With its unshakable luxury and balance – with its unique warmth, depth and status – it has helped Sydney open the hearts of millions and change the way America sees itself. “

Poitier’s close friend Harry Bellefont released a statement Friday calling the iconic actor “his partner in trying to make this world a little better.”

“For more than 80 years, Sidney and I laughed, cried, and did as much mischief as we could,” he wrote. “He’s really my brother and a partner in trying to make this world a little better. He’s definitely improved my whole life.”

News of Poitier’s fame flooded social media, with Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman praising him as “my inspiration, my guiding light, my friend” and Oprah Winfrey as his “friend, brother, believer, and teacher of wisdom.”

“Words cannot describe how your work has radically changed my life,” wrote fellow Oscar winner Viola Davis. “The dignity, nature, strength, special and sheer electricity you brought to your characters, showed us that we black people are important !!!”

Actor Jeffrey Wright called him a “handsome, compassionate, loving, true royal man.”

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