Washington DC, Jan 7 (EFE).- Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win a Best Actor Oscar, died on Friday at age 94 in the Bahamas, Bahamian foreign minister announced.
The Bahamian-American star moved to the United States when he was 15 years old after growing up in the Bahamas.
Poitier was born prematurely in Florida while his parents, who were farmers, were on a trip to the US to sell tomatoes in February 1927, automatically granting him US citizenship.
The actor was known for breaking down racial barriers in Hollywood and turning down roles because he did not want to be typecast as a black actor.
He was first nominated for an Oscar in 1959 for his role in The Defiant Ones (1958) and six years later won Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963).
Poiter starred in several films that addressed the issue of race, including To Sir, with Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night.
The films showcased racism in America but also the will to unite and leave conflict behind, themes which Poitier became a symbol for through his performances.
In 2001, Poitier was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to American cinema.
The actor was also a diplomat after becoming ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan in 1997 for ten years. EFE