Born in Miami on February 20, 1927, Poitier grew up in very poor conditions in the Bahamas and was knighted by the British Queen in 1974. The then US President Barack Obama presented him with the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. After all, Poetry’s greatest achievement was winning as an actor at a time when it was common for black people to play leading roles. Through his lengthy collection of classic songs such as “Escape in chains”, “Gess who come to dinner” and “In the heat of the night”, he became a role model for the next generation of dark actors.
When Poitier accepted an honorary Oscar in 2002 for his lifetime work, gala guests gave several minutes of rapturous applause. At the age of 22 he came to Hollywood and embarked on a journey that seemed “almost impossible” at the time, Poitier said in his memorable speech. Despite his skin color, he praised the “courageous and selfless” decisions of directors and producers who have given him roles and opportunities.
Poitier was a pioneer of black screen stars such as Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Louis Cossett Jr., Halle Berry and Viola Davis. Before her, only Hottie McDonnell won an Oscar in 1940 for her role as Housekeeper in the melodrama “Can with the Wind”. It has been almost 25 years since Poitier was selected as the first black man for Best Actor for “Lilien auf dem Felde” in 1964. He won the academy for his portrayal of a black worker on a farm of white nuns.
One of Poitier’s successes is the first black man to kiss a white woman in a Hollywood film. The emotional scene was shamefully filmed through the rearview mirror of a taxi in 1967, but it belongs to a series of developments in which civil rights activists celebrated him and some activists of the Afro-American movement long denigrated him as a conspirator. “White black”.
The black and white kissing scene comes from the movie “Kiss Who’s Dinner”, in which Poitier is portrayed as the future son-in-law of a wealthy couple, starring Catherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Catherine Houghton later played the future wife of the Poitier screen star.
The role opportunities for the dazzling-looking actor rolled by, and in the late 1960s Poitier was considered the highest-paid film actor. In 1967 he starred in two more films, including “Guess Who Comes to Dinner”. In the crime thriller “In the Heat of the Night”, he shines as a criminal expert from the North who has to defend himself against the racist Southern Sheriff (Rod Sticker).
It is a coincidence that the youngest of seven children of a poor farming family in the Bahamas was born in Florida and hence in the United States. Poitier, who grew up on Little Gate Island, followed an older brother to Florida as a teenager. He made his way into a street vendor, dishwasher and unskilled worker.
In New York he joined the American Negro Theater. After minor Broadway roles, he made his debut as a doctor with Richard Whitmark in the 1950 film “No Way Out”. The star of films such as “Escape in Science”, “Porgy and Pace” and “A Spot in the Sun” made his last film in 1997 with the action film “The Jackal”.
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