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Sidney Poitier, Black acting pioneer, dies aged 94

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J. Scott Applewhite/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Sidney Poitier, whose groundbreaking acting work in the 1950s and 60s paved the way for generations of Black film stars, has died aged 94.

Poitier, who was born in Miami and raised in the Bahamas, was the first Black winner of the best actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field and, along with Harry Belafonte, was a pioneering Black presence in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

His passing was confirmed on Friday morning by Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Bahamas, where Poitier grew up.

In all, he acted in more than 50 films and directed nine, starting in 1972 with 'Buck and the Preacher' in which he co-starred with Belafonte.

Poitier received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2009.

He was also awarded an Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

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