Spotlight on. SIDNEY POITIER

Article excerpt

Byline: SIDNEY POITIER

spotlight on... SIDNEY POITIER Image: Hollywood legend Best known for: His thunderous performance as Detective Virgil Tibbs in the 1967 crime drama In the Heat of the Night Early life: Born in Miami, Florida, on February 20, 1927, the son of Bahamian parents. He grew up with his family on Cat Island in the Bahamas, before moving to Miami to live with his brother at the age of 15. At 17, he went to New York, taking on a string of menial jobs, before joining the US Army, and finally winning a place with the American Negro Theater.

Career: He resolved to rid himself of his Bahamian accent and achieve stage success, but after receiving excellent reviews he left the stage for the screen in 1950 for the film noir No Way Out. His breakout role came at the age of 27, when he appeared in Blackboard Jungle, and was the first black actor to be nominated for a competitive Academy Award for The Defiant ones in 1958, and went on to win the Oscar for best Actor five years later for his performance in Lilies of the Field. …