Happy Birthday to the Oscar-winning actor and director Sidney Poitier, who turns 90 years old today. In 1964, he became the first black performer to win a Best Actor Academy Award (for Lilies of the Field). Three years later he was the top box-office star with three films about race relations–To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. WATCH a 2016 tribute film from the BAFTA awards… (1927)
At the age of 16, after growing up in The Bahamas, he moved to New York City and held a string of jobs as a dishwasher, until a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theatre. Poitier, who also starred in A Raisin in the Sun, has written three autobiographical books, including The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2000).
On April 6, the movie icon who was once a Bahamian diplomatic ambassador to Japan, is scheduled to participate in the TCM Classic Film Festival’s tribute to the 50th anniversary of his detective thriller, “In the Heat of the Night,” which will be screening on opening night.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state (1809)
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City (1872)
- Lt. Edward O’Hare became America’s first World War II flying ace (1942)
- One of the greatest Canadian hockey players, Phil Esposito, was born (1942)
- John Glenn aboard Friendship 7 became the first American to orbit the earth (1962)
- American Tara Lipinski became at age 15 the youngest gold medalist in Winter Olympics history when she won the ladies’ figure skating title at Nagano, Japan (1998)
- Protesters in Albania‘s capital, Tirana, toppled an enormous statue of the nation’s long-time dictator (1991)
- Ross Perot announced he would run for president of the USA (1992)