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An ICON MANN Salute To Sidney Poitier – Ebony

An ICON MANN Salute To Sidney Poitier – Ebony Long considered one of the greatest actors to grace the silver screen; American born-Bahamian raised Sidney Poitier’s first foray to acting was at the age of 16 where upon arriving in New York City, working as dishwasher to make ends meet, he responded to a casting call for American Negro Theater in Harlem.

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN
Lacking prior performance experience Sidney was not an obvious fit for the theater but he had great determination to change the course of his life for better. To offset the cost of acting lessons, Sidney worked as a janitor at the American Negro Theater and soon found himself as the understudy to fellow icon-in-the-making Harry Belafonte. Filling in for Mr. Belafonte one evening, Sidney was discovered and cast in the 1946 Broadway production of the classic Greek play, Lysistrata.

In 1950, Sidney made his film debut in No Way Out, playing a doctor called on to treat two racist White robbery suspects. The role would earn the actor high praise and kick off a decade memorable film roles, including Cry, the Beloved Country, Blackboard Jungle, Porgy and Bess, and The Defiant Ones. This 1958 film co-starred Tony Curtis, and would score Sidney his first Academy Award nomination.

Film | Edge of the City (1957)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNFilm | A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNFilm | Paris Blues (1961)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNFilm | Lilies of the Field (1963)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (1963)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | Sidney Poitier strolls through Miami’s airport in May (1964)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNFilm | A Patch of Blue (1965)

See Also
Hallie Quinn Brown, Mary McLeod Bethune, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNFilm | In the Heat of the Nights (1967)

Sidney Poitier, African American Cinema, Black Cinema, Black Actors, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


Poitier’s big-screen debut came as Dr Luther Brooks, a recently qualified practitioner and the first African American doctor at a county hospital. When injured sibling hoodlums Johnny and Ray Biddle (Dick Paxton and Richard Widmark) are placed under Brooks’ care, the doctor is subjected to vile racist abuse by Ray. Johnny’s death while undergoing treatment places Brooks and his family in danger as Ray swears revenge, claiming Brooks intentionally killed his brother. So committed was Widmark’s performance as a racist thug that Poitier’s on-screen anger is palpably genuine. Though only billed fourth on the cast list, the young but assured Poitier is clearly co-starring opposite the wild-eyed Widmark. (BFI).


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