Sidney Poitier was a source of inspiration for many.
Poitier, who became the first Black person to win the Oscar for best actor with his role in “Lilies of the Field” (1963), has been cited as an inspiration by James Earl Jones, Robert Townsend and Quincy Jones among many others. He died just a little over a month shy of his 95th birthday.
When news of his death broke Friday, people took to social media to express their gratitude for his craft and deep sorrow for his loss.
Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, expressed what Poitier meant to him.
“Nuance and power, humour and grit — Sidney Poitier had it all. Imagine what it meant to see him on the big screen in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Every word, every gesture was an inspiration.”
Timothy J. Fair on Twitter said, “Before there was a Denzel Washington, Will Smith, or Michael B. Jordan, there was Sidney Poitier who will be remembered for his boundless portfolio of work and an irrefutable impact on film, culture, and human rights. Long live his memory.”
Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg tweeted, “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.”
Bernice King, daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., reflected on Poitier’s influence being far beyond the screen, posting a photo of him at the Poor People’s Campaign march in Washington, D.C. in May 1968.
Oprah also took to Twitter to mourn the loss of Poitier, calling him a friend and mentor.