Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sidney Poitier: Hollywood's Classic Leading Man for July

Poitier receiving his Oscar for Lilies of the Field
 I love this man. He broke with convention by being the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963. His raging success in Lilies of the Field (1963) paved the way for several other successful ventures including the popular In the Heat of the Night (1967) and its sequel They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970) as well as the controversial Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) where he's part of an interracial couple.

But, much more than his success, I love Poitier because he bucked the system. He is attractive to everyone. He isn't black or white or any color in between. He's a man, and a very handsome one, and one that first drew my attention when he stopped to build a chapel for a convent of German nuns in Lilies of the Field. Poitier won my heart then with his compassion towards these nuns and the way he taught them to sing that old spiritual "Amen!"

Comfortable in his own skin, he forced others to be comfortable with it too. Poitier did his best to defy racial stereotypes in films, and for the most part, he succeeded. Although I would have loved to see him in Othello, I don't blame him for turning down the role since they only wanted him for the color of his skin.

So, prepare to walk with me down the pathways of Sidney Poitier's filmography. These are later films, perhaps not strictly classics, but then I consider anything older than 1984 (my birth year) to be a part of classic cinema. I hope you grow to love him as much as I do!

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