Legend of the screen Sidney Poitier will have his life and career celebrated in a new documentary produced by Oprah Winfrey for Apple.
The project, which is being made with the participation of the Poitier family, has been in the works for over a year but is even more poignant now with the news of the iconic actor’s passing on January 6.
Poitier, who passed away at the age of 94, was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor for 1963’s Lilies of the Field. Through his extensive body of work and his tireless activism, he paved the way for other minority performers — particularly with films such as In the Heat of the Night, To Sir With Love and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?.
At this stage, not much is known about the documentary, except that Reginald Hudlin is attached to direct. Hudlin is best known for helming 2019’s Netflix doco The Black Godfather, which explored the life of music executive Clarence Avant, and Marshall, the 2017 Thurgood Marshall biopic starring the late Chadwick Boseman.
Following the news of Poitier’s death, tributes from fellow actors poured in as they reminisced on the ways in which he had touched their lives.
“No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life,” Viola Davis wrote on Instagram featuring a photo of her with the actor.
“The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!! It was an honour for my husband and I to share lunch with you at Spagos. You told us,’ If your dreams do not scare you, they’re not big enough’! I put this quote on my daughter’s wall. Rest well Mr Poitier. Thank you! Thank you for leaving a legacy. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Lenny Kravitz wrote, “Sir Sidney, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible.
“Your excellence will always be the benchmark. Rest in divine peace, Bahamian King. My love and condolences go out to your beautiful family.”
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wright shared a heartfelt Tweet in which he said, “Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love.”
Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love.
(📷Sam Falk/NYT) pic.twitter.com/5ZaKxxPdxw
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 7, 2022
Poitier is survived by his wife, Joanna Shimkus, and five of his six daughters.