Miami est une ville des États-Unis, situé dans l'État de Floride. Surnommée Magic City, elle est peuplée d'environ 400 000 habitants. Elle est située au sud-est du pays et est une des villes les plus touristiques grâce en partie à son climat tropical.

Modèle:Infobox actor

Sidney Poitier (born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian-American actor, film director, author, and diplomat. He became a star in American films and plays, which went against defying racial stereotypes, and made black actors more respected in mainstream roles.

Early lifeModifier

Poitier was born in Miami, Florida, USA and grew up with his family on remote Cat Island, in the Bahamas. His mother was called Evelyn and his father was called Reginald James Poitier.[1] They had a farm.[2] Poitier's birth was premature and people did not expect him to survive, but his parents stayed three months in Miami until he became well.[3] Because he was born in Miami, Poitier automatically gained U.S. citizenship.[3]

When he was 15, Poitier's parents sent him off Miami to live with his older brother. 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. He decided to join the United States Army. He worked as a dishwasher until he got a job with the American Negro Theater.

Acting careerModifier

Poitier was tone deaf, and could not sing or dance. This is what black actors did at the time, so audiences did not like him.[4] He worked very hard to improve his acting skills, and to get rid of his Bahamian accent. He eventually got a leading role in the Broadway play called Lysistrata and he got excellent reviews. At the end of 1949, he got a job working for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). He played a doctor treating a white bigot. After this job, he soon got more film roles. The acting jobs he got were better and more interesting than the roles most black actors played at the time.

In 1955, he played a member of an badly behaved high school class in Blackboard Jungle. This was an important role in Poitier's career.

Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field in 1963).

He acted in the first production of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway in 1959, and later starred in the film version released in 1961. He was also in The Bedford Incident (1965), and A Patch of Blue (1965) co-starring Elizabeth Hartman and Shelley Winters. In 1967, he was the most successful actor at the box office, with three successful films, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; To Sir, with Love and In the Heat of the Night. The last film featured his most successful character, Virgil Tibbs, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania detective.

However, Poitier began to be criticized for typecasting himself, playing black characters who had only good personalities, like his character in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Poitier agreed with this but although he wanted more different roles, but also wanted to set a good example with his characters and go against the negative stereotypes that had come before. He was the only major black actor in the American film industry at the time.

Directing careerModifier

Poitier has directed several films, the most successful being the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder comedy Stir Crazy. The first film he directed was the western Buck and the Preacher. He was also the star, with Harry Belafonte. Other films he has directed are Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again, A Piece of the Action, and Ghost Dad.

Personal lifeModifier

Poitier was first married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950 until 1965. He has been married to Joanna Shimkus, a Canadian-born actress, since January 23, 1976. He has four daughters by his first marriage and two by his second.

He has written three autobiographical books, This Life (1980), The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2000) and Life Beyond Measure - letters to my Great-Granddaughter (2008).

Later lifeModifier

In April 1997, Poitier was became ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan. He is also the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO. From 1998 to 2003, he was a Member of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company.[5]

In 2001, Poitier received an Academy Honorary Award for his overall contribution to American cinema. In August 2009, he received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.


  1. Sidney Poitier Biography (1927-)
  2. Tavis Smiley interviews Sidney Poitier
  3. 3,0 et 3,1 Adam Goudsouzian, Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon (2004), p.8.
  4. Goudsouzian; Sidney Poitier; pp. 69, 133
  5. Actor Takes Center Stage as Disney Trial Grinds On
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