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Sir Sidney Poitier: Hollywood trailblazer dies aged 94

Sidney Poitier

Image source, Getty Images

Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win a best actor Oscar, has died at 94.

The Hollywood star’s death was confirmed to the BBC by the office of Fred Mitchell, the Bahamas’ minister of foreign affairs.

Poitier was a trailblazing actor and a respected humanitarian and diplomat. He won the Academy Award for best actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963.

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Born in Miami, he grew up both in the US and Bahamas and became a star of the stage and screen.

His appearance in The Defiant Ones in 1958 earned him his first Oscar nomination.

The actor was a regular on the big screen at a time of racial segregation in the US, appearing in a Patch of Blue in 1965, and then Heat of the Night the year after, followed by Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, playing a black man with a white fiancee.

In Heat of the Night he portrayed Virgil Tibbs, a black police officer confronting racism during a murder investigation.

Sidney Poitier in In The Heat of the Night

Image source, Ronald Grant

Poitier went on to direct a raft of films, and a Broadway play about life and career was announced last month.

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