Mr. Poitier was born on February 20th, 1927 in Miami, Florida to Reginald James and Evelyn Poitier who were farmers on Cat Island in The Bahamas.
Mr. Poiter would go on to lead in many successful films, including The Bedford Incident, The Greatest Story Ever Told, To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Shoot to Kill, and Sneakers.
In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, he would appear in one of the first movies to show interracial marriage in a positive light at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in some places.
Mr. Poitier would win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963 for his work in the movie, Lilies of the Field. He would be the first black actor to win the award. He would go on to win many other awards and honours for his work, including an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974 from Queen Elizabeth II, an Honorary Academy Award in 2001, the Life Achievement Award in 2000 from the Screen Actor Guild, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1994), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
From 1997 to 2007, he was the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan.
Mr. Poitier was married twice, first to Juanita Hardy from 1950 to 1965, and then to Joanna Shimkus from 1976 until his death. He also had six daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.