Tributes to Sidney Poitier poured in from Hollywood and around the world following the death Thursday of the groundbreaking actor and cultural icon.
Poitier, who was the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw, was 94.
“For over 80 years, Sidney and I laughed, cried and made as much mischief as we could. He was truly my brother and partner in trying to make this world a little better. He certainly made mine a whole lot better.” — Actor Harry Belafonte, in a statement.
“It was a privilege to call Sidney Poitier my friend. He was a gentleman and opened doors for all of us that had been closed for years. God bless him and his family.” — Denzel Washington, in a statement.
“My honour to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish.” — Oprah Winfrey, on Instagram.
“Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomised dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors.” — Former President Barack Obama, on Twitter.
“The grace and class that this man has shown throughout his entire life, the example he set for me, not only as a Black man but as a human being will never be forgotten….All I can say is thank you for your life, thank you for your example, and thank you for your incredible gift. But most of all, thank you for being willing to share YOU to make us all better.” — Actor and director Tyler Perry, on Facebook.
“Sidney was my inspiration, my guiding light, my friend.” — Actor Morgan Freeman, on Twitter.
“This is a big one. No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life. The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!! It was an honour…” — Actor Viola Davis, on Instagram.
“If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high.” – To Sir… with Love. Sir Sidney Poitier RIP. He showed us how to reach for the stars. — Actor and TV personality Whoopi Goldberg, on Twitter.
“Sidney Poitier, your last sunset with us is the dawn of many generations rising in the path of light you blazed. We will always hold you in our hearts and forever speak your name. — Actor and director Debbie Allen, on Twitter.
“One of the greatest actors of his generation. We all have our Poitier era. Growing up in the ’70s I’d have to say that maybe ‘Uptown Saturday Night’ was the first movie I ever watched. … Rest in peace. And thank you.” — Musician Questlove, on Instagram.
“Few artists have contributed more to the Civil Rights Movement than Sidney Poitier,” worte Marc H Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “As an actor, he was determined not to be defined by his race, but he pointedly refused roles that perpetuated negative stereotypes.
He added: “His charm and grace, both onscreen and off, helped to open hearts and minds as the nation challenged segregation and discrimination.”
“He single-handedly changed the face of the Leading Man. I had the honor to thank him in person and, in his kindness and grace, he said, “You’re a leading man, Lou, because you’re a good actor.” — Actor Lou Diamond Phillips, on Twitter.
“Sir #SidneyPoitier, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible.” — Musician Lenny Kravitz, on Twitter.
“Sidney Poitier is quite literally the reason why I wanted to become an artist…There are very few people that I quake in the presence of. Rest easy, GOAT. ” — TV actor Keith Powell, on Twitter.
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