The strength and integrity of actor Sidney Poitier (1927-) resonates in his films. The son of tomato farmers, he was born on this day in Miami, Florida and raised on Cat Island in the Caribbean.
"If you apply reason and logic to this career of mine, you're not going to get very far. You simply won't," said the actor of over 40 films. "The journey has been incredible from its beginning. So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness."
Not to mention talent and charisma...
Poitier was a pioneer who erased racial barriers in the 1950s. The first African American to win the Best Actor Oscar for the unforgettable role as the man who builds a chapel for a group of nuns in Lilies of the Field (1963). He was a hero to audiences.
A hero to audiences, he once observed, "We all suffer from the preoccupation that there exists... in the loved one, perfection."
With powerful, passionate roles in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967, with Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and To Sir, With Love (1967), Poitier helped defy industry stereotypes, leading the way for other black actors to achieve fame.
Not content to limit himself to acting, Poitier expanded his craft as a successful director with such films as Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and Stir Crazy (1980). He has written the memoirs, This Life (1980) and The Measure of a Man (2000).
"I don't duck the role-model tag. If I can encourage or influence kids to have some of the values that I have, I'll stand for that," said the advocate for human rights and freedom who was called "a man of great social concern" by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tune in to this wonderful journey of life.