Sidney Poitier , Family, Novels, Awards, Net Worth, Death

Sidney Poitier was a Bahamian and American actor. He was an actor, director, producer, and diplomat who broke the color barrier in the United States. He was the first African American to win an Oscar for best actor. Poitier was one of the last major stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema. He grew up in the Bahamas but moved to Miami at the age of 15 and to New York at the age of 16. He joined American Negro Theater and portrayed the role of a high school student in the film Blackboard Jungle.

In addition to classic roles, he also worked and directed comedy movies. He worked in successful movies which dealt with race and race relations. He was granted a Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 1974. In 2009 he was awarded the  Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the US, by President Barack Obama. In 2016, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding lifetime achievement in film.

BirthFebruary 20, 1927
Birth NameSidney L. Poitier
NationalityAmerican, Bahamian
OccupationActor, Film Director, Diplomat
Years Active1946- 2009
SpousesJuanita Hardy Joanna Shimkus
DeathJanuary 6, 2022

Early Life:

Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, 1927, in Miami, Florida. He was born to Evelyn and Reginald James Poitier. They both were farmers who owned a farm on Cat Island. They used to sell tomatoes. His father also worked as a Cab driver in Nassau. He was born unexpectedly in Miami while his parents were there on business. He was three months premature child and was not expected to survive.

His birth in the United States entitled him to US citizenship. He lived with his family in on Cat Island until he was 10. Then they moved to Nassau, where he was exposed to the modern world. He was raised Catholic but later became an agnostic.

At the age of 15, he was sent to Miami with his elder brother’s family, where he didn’t adjust due to racism. At 16, he moved to New York City, looking to become an actor.

Personal Life:

Poitier was married to Juanita Hardy from April 29, 1950, until 1965. He raised his family in Stuyvesant, New York. In 1959, he began his nine-year affair with actress Diahann Carrel. He married Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus on January 23, 1976, and they remained together till Poitier’s death. He was blessed with a family of six children. He had four daughters with his first wife and 2 daughters with his second wife.


  • Beverly Poitier-Henderson: Beverly is Sidney Poitier’s eldest daughter. She is an actress and has appeared in films such as “Love Boat: The Next Wave” and “The Last Brickmaker in America.” She is also known for her work as a producer.
  • Pamela Poitier: Pamela, Sidney’s second daughter, has maintained a relatively private life. Not much information is available about her professional endeavors or personal life.
  • Sherri Poitier: Sherri is another daughter of Sidney Poitier. Similar to Pamela, not much information is publicly available about her professional life or personal details.
  • Gina Poitier: Gina is Sidney Poitier’s fourth daughter. Like her siblings, she has chosen to maintain a low public profile, and limited information is available about her.
  • Anika Poitier: Anika is the fifth child of Sidney Poitier. She has ventured into the entertainment industry as a film director and screenwriter. Anika directed the film “Black Irish” in 2007 and has worked on other projects as well.
  • Sydney Tamiia Poitier: Sydney Tamiia Poitier is Sidney Poitier’s youngest daughter. She followed in her father’s footsteps and pursued a career in acting. Sydney has appeared in numerous television shows and films, including “Grindhouse,” “Death Proof,” and “Knight Rider.

sidney poitier family
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Poitier joined the American Negro Theater but was rejected by audiences. To refine his acting skills, he spent the next six months dedicating himself to achieving theatrical success. Poitier never signed a loyalty oath.

Military Career:

During  World War II, in November 1943,  he lied about his age and enlisted in Army. He was assigned to a Veteran’s Administration Hospital in New York. He was trained to work with psychiatric patients. He feigned mental illness to obtain the discharge.

Acting Career:

In his second attempt at the theater, he was noticed and given a lead role in the Broadway Production Lysistrata, through which he got an invitation to understudy Anna Lucasta.

In 1949, he had to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work in the film No Way Out as the role of a doctor. His performance in Edge of The City leads to his fame. Poitier enjoyed working for the big director William Wellman in Good Bye, My Lady. He praised Wellman for his elegant directing skills.

Read Also: Cate Blanchett Biography

Famous Movies:

  • In The Heat Of The Night
  • A Raisin In The Sun
  • The Defiant Ones
  • The Lilies Of The Field
  • To Sir, With Love
  • Black Board Jungle
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
  • Edge Of The City
  • Cry, The Beloved Country
  • A Patch Of Blue
  • No Way Out
  • Porgy And Bess
  • Paris Blues
  • Buck And The Preacher
  • Shoot to Kill

Cause of Death:

Poitier died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, on January 6, 2022, at the age of 94.  He was suffering from Cardiopulmonary Failure, Alzheimer’s disease, and prostate cancer.

Net Worth of Sidney Poitier:

Sidney Poitier had an estimated net worth of around $20 million at the time of his death in 2022. His net worth reflected the success he achieved throughout his remarkable acting career, which spanned over 60 years, and contributed significantly to his financial standing.

Rewards And Honors:

  • Academy Awards for Best Actor In Leading Role (1964)
  • AFI Life Achievement Award (1992)
  • Academy Honorary Award (2002)
  • Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award (1982)
  • Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor (1964)
  • BAFTA Fellowship (2016)
  • BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor (1959)
  • Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award (2000)
  • Coretta Scott King Awards For Authors (1981)

I am not a Sidney Poitier:

“I Am Not Sidney Poitier” is a novel written by Percival Everett, an American author known for his diverse and thought-provoking literary works. The novel was first published in 2009 and is a satirical and philosophical exploration of race, identity, and cultural stereotypes.

The story revolves around the life of the protagonist, Not Sidney Poitier, who shares a name with the famous actor Sidney Poitier but is not related to him. Not Sidney goes on a journey of self-discovery, grappling with his identity and the expectations placed upon him due to his name. The novel is filled with wit, humor, and clever references to Sidney Poitier’s iconic roles and the complexities of racial identity in America.

Percival Everett’s “I Am Not Sidney Poitier” has been praised for its sharp commentary on race, as well as its engaging narrative and well-crafted characters. It is a unique and thought-provoking work that challenges conventional norms and invites readers to question societal assumptions.

The Measure of a Man Sidney Poitier:

“The Measure of a Man” is a memoir written by Sidney Poitier, the acclaimed actor and filmmaker. Published in 2000, the book delves into Poitier’s life, career, and personal journey, providing insights into his experiences and reflections on various aspects of his life.

In “The Measure of a Man,” Poitier shares his upbringing in the Bahamas, his struggles with poverty and racism, and his rise to become one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. He reflects on the challenges he faced as a black actor during a time of racial tension and segregation in the United States.

The memoir also explores Poitier’s philosophy on life, success, and the importance of integrity. He discusses his commitment to representing positive and realistic portrayals of African-Americans on screen, as well as his advocacy for civil rights and social change.

“The Measure of a Man” offers readers a deep and personal understanding of Sidney Poitier’s life and values. It is regarded as an inspiring and introspective account that provides valuable insights into the experiences and perspectives of one of the industry’s trailblazing figures.


  • How tall was sidney poitier ?

He had a height of approximately 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm). Poitier’s tall stature and commanding presence added to his on-screen charisma and made him a memorable figure in the film industry.

  • How many times was sidney poitier married?

Sidney Poitier has been married twice in his life. Here are the details of his marriages:

  • Juanita Hardy (1950-1965): Poitier married Juanita Hardy in 1950.
  • Joanna Shimkus (1976-present): Poitier married Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus in 1976.
  • what happened to sidney poitier first wife?

After his divorce from his first wife, Juanita Hardy, in 1965, not much information is readily available about her public life. Juanita Hardy largely maintained a private life following her separation from Sidney Poitier. As a result, details about her current whereabouts or activities are not widely known.

  • How many Oscars did Sidney Poitier win?

Sidney Poitier achieved two significant Oscar wins during his career.

  • The first occurred in 1964 when he received the prestigious Best Actor award for his outstanding performance in the film “Lilies of the Field.” This historic win made him the first African-American actor to be honored in this category.
  • The second noteworthy recognition came in 2002 when Poitier was bestowed with the Academy Honorary Award. This special accolade recognized his remarkable contributions to the film industry
  • Where is Sidney Poitier buried?

Poitier is buried in Western Cemetery in Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas.

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