Sidney Poitier’s family remembered the Hollywood giant as a humanitarian, a leader and a dedicated artist in a statement released Friday evening, a day after his death at the age of 94.
The actor, who became the first black man to win an Oscar for lead actor with 1963’s “Lilies of the Field,” died on January 6 at his home in Los Angeles. Poitier was Hollywood’s first major black box office star, constantly blazing trails. With film roles such as Dr. John Wade Prentiss in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and Mark Thackeray in “To Sir, with Love”, as well as his activism at the center of the Civil Rights era. As with many prominent Hollywood figures, his family reflected his legacy of art and compassion.
“There are no words to express the deep feeling of loss and sadness we are feeling right now. We are very grateful that he was able to spend his last days surrounded by his family and friends,” the statement reads. “To us Sidney Poitier was not only a prolific actor, activist and a man of incredible grace and moral steadfastness, he was a Devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adorable father and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who illuminated our lives with infinite love and wonder. Her smile was healing, her embrace was the warmest shelter and her laughter was infectious. We could always turn to him for wisdom and solace and his absence feels like a huge hole in our family and our hearts. Although she is no longer with us in this area, her beautiful spirit will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, in our grandchildren and great-grandchildren – in every belly laugh, every curious inquiry, every act of compassion and kindness. His legacy will live on in the world, inspiring even more not only with his incredible work, but with his humanity. ,
The family continued, “We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to each and every one of you for the love from around the world.” “Many have been touched by our father’s extraordinary life, his unwavering sense of decency and respect for his fellow man. Their faith in humanity has never wavered, so know that the love you have shown them loves you back. ,