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Sidney Poitier’s Family Speaks Out Following The Hollywood Legend’s Death At Age 94

Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night
(Image credit: MGM)

Sidney Poitier’s death at the age of 94 has led to an outpouring of tributes over the past day. While fans of the actor have honored his legendary Hollywood career with discussions of his best films and performances, countless others have reminded the world of what a truly honorable man he was off screen as well. Now, his family has shared their own reflections on his life and legacy. 

Beyond making a profound impact on diversity in Hollywood and beyond, Sidney Poitier had a rich private life. In a statement, sent to CinemaBlend by publicist Mara Buxbaum, Sidney Poitier’s family spoke at length about the impact he had, not just on the world but on their own lives:

There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now. We are so grateful he was able to spend his last day surrounded by his family and friends. To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder. His smile was healing, his hugs the warmest refuge, and his laughter was infectious. We could always turn to him for wisdom and solace and his absence feels like a giant hole in our family and our hearts. Although he is no longer here with us in this realm, his beautiful soul will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, his 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, continuing to inspire not only with his incredible body of work, but even more so with his humanity.

Throughout his lengthy acting career, Sidney Poitier made history many times over. He rose to fame at the height of the Civil Rights movement and, throughout his career, both on screen and off, he made films that served as social commentary and became an inspirational voice for equality and justice. As the first Black actor to win a Best Actor trophy at the Academy Awards in 1964, he inspired countless other actors who came after him – as evidenced by Oscar winner Denzel Washington’s own acceptance speech nearly 40 years later.

His family's words truly encapsulate what the actor meant to them as well as to so many within the general public. The actor's family family also took time to thank fans for their support and their love for the actor. They continued:

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world. So many have been touched by our dad’s extraordinary life, his unwavering sense of decency and respect for his fellow man. His faith in humanity never faltered, so know that for all the love you’ve shown him, he loved you back.

Sidney Poitier is survived by his wife Joanna Shimkus and six daughters. While his loss is one that surely hits hard for many we can take comfort in the fact that were were able to his brilliant performances and keen social activism for as long as we did. 

We here at CinemaBlend continue to extend our thoughts to Sidney Poitier's loved ones during this time.