News – USA – Oprah reflects Sidney Poitier’s landmark Hollywood career


If there’s one person in Hollywood who is considered a true trailblazer, it’s Sidney Poitier, the longtime actor who broke through with films like “Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner” and “In The Heat of the Night” and At the height of the civil rights movement in 1964, Black was the first black to win the Oscar for Best Actor During Black History Month, Oprah Winfrey shares with Kevin Frazier of ET on the 94-year-old actor’s legacy and how he laid the foundations for himself and many others in the industry has laid

“If I tell you deeply that I might start crying now, I was deeply, deeply, and sincerely moved from that moment,” says Winfrey, looking back on Poitier’s historic Oscar win for Lilies of the Field at that point the future talk show host was only 10 years old “We were called colored people back then [And] I had never seen a colored man who looked like this or presented something like that. And I just thought if he could do that, I wonder what I could do ”

She adds, “And because he did that, I could do what I could in the world, and every single other black person that followed. It only happened because he not only could, but be It is what he portrayed: his dignity, integrity, presence, grace, sense of honor, the choice of characters he just does and the selection of roles that reflect the best that a black man could be in the world ”

Before his Oscar win, Poitier’s groundbreaking screenings included The Defiant Ones, Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun and Paris Blues, and in the years that followed, he starred in A Patch of Blue, To Sir, With Love, In the Heat the night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner before he finally stepped behind the camera as a director

The latter, a family comedy, played Poitier and Katharine Houghton as an interracial engaged couple, Dr John Wade Prentice and Joanna Drayton were released in December 1967 just months after the Supreme Court ruling in the Loving v Virginia case ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional

For Winfrey, this film is still a resonance for her today and shows the scene in which Dr Prentice says, “Dad, you are my father I am your son I love you I always have and I always will But you consider yourself a man of color I consider myself a man”

“That’s him. This is one of my favorites of his because I know that this is the essence of who he is,” she says, adding that she’s also To Sir, With Love and Lilies of the Field loves “Back then – yes, back then – when Sidney Poitier was into anything, either Sidney Poitier or Diana Ross and The Supremes, it didn’t matter what it was, people would call everyone and say,” People of color call! People of color, turn on the TV now. People of color “It wouldn’t matter what movie it was in, we wanted to see it””

While most of Poitier’s filmography is not available to major services, his films can be rented through Apple or Amazon, and Winfrey recommends other 10-year-olds discover the actor to start with To Sir, With Love In the 1967 film, which explores social and racist issues in an inner-city school, stars Poitier Mark Thackeray, an immigrant from British Guiana in the USAKwho teaches at a school in the East End of London while awaiting approval for an engineering job he has advertised

“I think a 10 year old starting To Sir, With Love would be really good,” says Winfrey, adding, “I think allowing young people to see his early work, but more importantly to read his book, This Life, or read his book The Measure of a Man, in which he talks about a man’s measure, his willingness to honor and care for his family, and what he believed in terms of the roles he played and also his personal life and how he lived as someone who was a representative of ‘I am Reginald Poitier’s son’ ”

As someone who was aware of his reputation and how his work affected himself and his family, Poitier turned down an early film role because it portrayed the character and his relationship with his daughter

“He didn’t think it was bad to play a janitor, but the janitor’s daughter in that particular scene was murdered and the body was thrown on the lawn. Recalls Winfrey, “And he wouldn’t take the role. He said because he was Reginald Poitier’s son and Reginald wouldn’t let this happen to one of his children”

Looking back at his filmography and what Poitier achieved as an actor, particularly during the civil rights movement, Winfrey points out that “beneath the surface of all his work was the call, the plea for all his work, the pursuit following racial justice in the world in such a way that he was able to humanize black people ”

Poitier, continues Winfrey, is the person who opened the door to blacks in Hollywood and on screen, from film to television “His being and his presence in the world – not just as an actor but as Father and as a person – laid the foundation for people like me and future generations who will benefit from his work, “she says.” There would be no Kevin Frazier sitting on Entertainment Tonight without Sidney Poitier We are part of the chain, but he was the first link ”

While Winfrey Poitier has known for many years what became the weekly calls she referred to as “Sundays with Sidney,” she says it’s one of the greatest joys of her life, especially for the 10 year old version of You yourself “[I] not only got to know him, but got to know him in a way that he improved my life,” she enthuses. “Well, I mean, love him, just love him”

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Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier

News – USA – Oprah reflects on Sidney Poitier’s landmark Hollywood career