Washington: Sidney Poitier, first black person to win the prestigious Oscar award, has passed away at the age of 94, media reported on Saturday.
Poitier was a trailblazing actor, a respected humanitarian and diplomat who won the Academy Award for best actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963, BBC reported.
Former US President Barack Obama said: “Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans.”
US President Joe Biden also sent his condolence to Poitier’s bereaved family.
Biden tweeted: “The son of tomato farmers in the Bahamas, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor — but the trail he blazed extended leaps and bounds beyond his background or profession. Jill and I send our love and prayers to his loved ones.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris said: “Sidney Poitier transformed our world both on and off the screen. As an Oscar-winning actor and Ambassador, he advanced our dialogue on race and civil rights at a time when we needed it most. My thoughts are with his wife Joanna and his daughters.”
The actor broke racial barriers and gained his first Oscar nomination for ‘The Defiant Ones’ in 1958 which was a huge achievement as a black person was in a lead at that time.
He was the Bahamas’ ambassador to Japan and received a knighthood from the Queen in 1974.