Sidney Poitier Turns 90:

Last Update: June 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

SOURCE: People

Feb 20,2017


Sidney Poitier Turns 90: Inside the Actor, Activist and Diplomat’s Incredible Life


Legendary filmmaker, activist and human-rights trailblazer Sidney Poitier can now add “nonagenarian” to his list of accomplishments.

The two-time Academy Award winner turned 90 on Monday, and celebrated the milestone with friends and family, including his wife, Joanna Shimkus, whom he married in 1976, as well as six daughters, Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Gina, Anika and Sydney. He also has eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Poitier, who made a career out of defying expectations, began his life beating the odds. The actor was born two months premature in Miami in 1927 to a pair of poor immigrant farmers from the Bahamas, and the likelihood of his surviving was so remote, his father returned home with a shoebox in which to bury the tiny baby.

But young Poitier survived, and within months, his parents returned home to their farm on Cat Island in the Bahamas. There was no electricity, running water or paved roads, but the island became a tropical playground for the actor as a boy. After a stint in Nassau, Poitier moved to Florida to live with his brother when he was 15. He eventually made his way to Harlem, washing dishes to earn a living.

After serving in the Army, Poitier joined the American Negro Theater, trading janitorial services for drama training. He eventually got enough notice to make it to Broadway, kicking off his stage career with a role in Lysistrata.