World reacts to death of trailblazing actor Sidney Poitier

Actor Sidney Poitier who has died at the age of 94, epitomised dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together, former president Barack Obama said.
Actor Sidney Poitier who has died at the age of 94, epitomised dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together, former president Barack Obama said.
Image: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

Luminaries from Hollywood and politics reacted on Friday to the death of Sidney Poitier, who broke through racial barriers as the first Black actor to win an Oscar for his leading role in “Lilies of the Field,” and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement.

 BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:

“Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomised 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.”

 OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST:

“For me, the greatest of the 'Great Trees' has fallen: Sidney Poitier. My honour to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish.”

 U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:

“Jill and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Sidney Poitier, the once-in-a-generation actor and advocate whose work carried so much dignity, power, and grace that it changed the world on and off the big screen.”

 WHOOPI GOLDBERG, OSCAR WINNING ACTRESS AND TV HOST:

“If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high.. To Sir… with Love Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars.”

 VIOLA DAVIS, OSCAR WINNING ACTRESS:

“The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!!”

 HALLE BERRY, OSCAR WINNING ACTRESS:

“My dear Sidney, an enormous part of my soul weeps at your passing. In your ninety-four years on this planet, you left an indelible mark with your extraordinary talent, paving the way for Black people to be seen and heard in the fullness of who we are. You were an iconic trailblazer; yours was a life well lived. I grew up idolising you and will always remember the day when I first met you. It is the only time in my life when I’ve been rendered speechless!”

BOB IGER, FORMER DISNEY CEO:

“Sidney Poitier was the most dignified man I’ve ever met. Towering…gentle…passionate…bold…kind…altogether special.”

TYLER PERRY, PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, ACTOR:

“The grace and class that this man has shown throughout his entire life, the example he set for me, not only as a black man but as a human being will never be forgotten. There is no man in this business who has been more of a North Star for me than Sidney Poitier.”

PHILIP DAVIS, PRIME MINISTER OF THE BAHAMAS:

“Our whole Bahamas grieves and extends our deepest condolences to his family. But even as we mourn, we celebrate the life of a great Bahamian: a cultural icon, an actor and film director, an entrepreneur, civil and human rights activist and, latterly, a diplomat. Well, I admire the man not just because of his colossal achievements, but also because of who he was, his strength of character, his willingness to stand up and be counted, and the way he plotted and navigated his life's journey.”

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