Saturday, 20 February 2010

On this day...

Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier was born in 1927. Altough without obvious immediate literary connections, Poitier's exploitations in the film world had an undeniable impact on literature, ensuring both greater sales and interest. Growing up on remote Cat Island, Poitier's parents made a living by selling tomatoes and other farm produce. At the age of 17, and with the hope of theatrical success, Poitier moved to New York and indeed won a place at the American Negro Theatre, yet was criticised for his perceived lack of ability to sing or dance.

Nevertheless, Poitier's subsequent acting career, is something to be admired. The star of such films as 'The Defiant Ones', 'To Sir, with Love' and 'In the Heat of the Night', all of which are novels, Poitier hit the heights when he became the first black person to win an Academy Award. This he achieved in 1963, for 'Lilies of the Field', a film based on the eponymous book by William Edmund Barrett. Poitier's consequential fame and international reknown, led him to being named the Bahamian ambassador to Japan, and, on August 12th last year, him being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

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