As Sidney Poitier turns 92 today, we were inspired to check our archives, which we call the morgue, to help us illustrate how the storied actor’s successful career in Hollywood paved the way for other black actors in the film industry.
Photos from a shoot with the New York Times photographer Sam Falk reflect the heavy weight of racial significance that has borne down on Mr. Poitier and the characters he has played.
Slide after slide show him in casual stances, sticking his hands in his pockets or propping his foot on a fire hydrant, but his expression is resolute, hardly shifting from one photo to the next, except for a slight smile he offers in one frame.
The meaning behind his seemingly unfaltering countenance is reflected in his words. In Times articles over the years, he describes feeling the heft of his career moves, in one instance saying that he turned down offers to play subservient characters, like butlers, because he rejected how Hollywood stereotyped his race.
“I felt very much as if I were representing 15, 18 million people with every move I made,” he once wrote.
Born on Feb. 20, 1927, Mr. Poitier had only a year and a half of schooling. He moved at a young age to Miami, where he began working to support himself.
“Bigotry — and poverty — were Poitier’s lot in youth,” The Times wrote in 1959.
His first audition with the American Negro Theatre went poorly. He struggled to read the script, and his West Indian accent made him difficult to understand. So he bought a radio and spent hours at a time listening to the voices and training himself to enunciate words clearly. He also studied newspapers and magazines and taught himself to read.
Ultimately, he was hired by the theater.
Read the article here.
Mr. Poitier, won an Oscar for best film acting in “Lilies of the Field.”
“I guess I leaped six feet from my seat when my name was called. You can call that surprise if you want to,” he told The Times in 1964 with a relaxed chuckle.
In speaking about how he got to what The Times called “the pinnacle of stardom,” he said:
“I have always thought of survival in terms of my internal self. That is more important than external self. I wanted to be, in my own terms, worthwhile. I wanted to be acceptable to myself. And I felt that way in acting.”
Read the article here.
Twenty-five years later, Mr. Poitier looked back at how his career had progressed.
By 1989, his film characters included the streetwise student of “The Blackboard Jungle,” the proper, collected schoolteacher of “To Sir, With Love,” the restless, frustrated Walter Lee Younger of “A Raisin in the Sun” (a role he created on Broadway) and the methodical but outspoken detective Virgil Tibbs of “In the Heat of the Night.”
“The most memorable and enduring of those roles embodied the experience of many black Americans: an abiding faith in the country’s institutions, coupled with frustration and anger directed at those same institutions,” The Times wrote.
“Historical circumstances have changed,” Mr. Poitier said. “During the period when I was the only person here — no Bill Cosby, no Eddie Murphy, no Denzel Washington — I was carrying the hopes and aspirations of an entire people. I had no control over content, no creative leverage except to refuse to do a film, which I often did.”
“I had to satisfy the action fans, the romantic fans, the intellectual fans. It was a terrific burden.”
Read the article here.
The New York Times Magazine marveled at Mr. Poitier’s diet — at age 73, he had sworn off alcohol, red meat, milk and sugar, referring to an occasional scoop of ice cream as “falling off the wagon.”
The Times wrote: “He is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, trim, fit and still smiling the incandescent smile that started his career five decades ago.”
Read the article here.B:
【皇】【帝】【脸】【色】【凝】【重】，【仰】【起】【头】【深】【吸】【一】【口】【气】，【张】【张】【嘴】【想】【说】【什】【么】，【却】【始】【终】【没】【说】【出】【口】，【只】【是】【疲】【惫】【的】【挥】【挥】【手】，【让】【他】【们】【全】【都】【退】【下】。 【子】【岚】【祖】【孙】【俩】【在】【门】【口】【等】【候】【崔】【爷】【爷】【三】【人】，【见】【他】【们】【出】【来】【了】，【才】【望】【着】【他】【们】。 【崔】【爷】【爷】【挥】【挥】【手】，“【走】【吧】，【回】【家】。” 【并】【没】【有】【多】【余】【的】【话】。 【一】【行】【人】【一】【路】【无】【话】【出】【了】【宫】【廷】，【在】【马】【车】【旁】【崔】【爷】【爷】【才】【开】【口】，“【今】【日】【还】【算】
【小】【助】：“【怎】【么】【了】，【你】【在】【说】【什】【么】？” 【顺】【着】【沐】【心】【阳】【的】【视】【线】【看】【过】【去】，【他】【说】【道】：“【那】【个】【就】【是】【欧】【阳】【丽】，【挺】【漂】【亮】【的】。” 【还】【以】【为】【她】【不】【知】【道】【是】【谁】，【还】【特】【地】【给】【她】【解】【释】【了】【下】。 【沐】【心】【阳】【恍】【然】：“【原】【来】【她】【就】【是】【欧】【阳】【丽】。” 【那】【天】【在】【香】【水】【店】【遇】【到】【过】。 【她】【还】【以】【为】【是】【谁】。 【不】【过】，【确】【实】【挺】【漂】【亮】【的】，【养】【眼】。 【小】【助】【抱】【着】【一】【大】【堆】【器】【材】【走】马报93期什么生肖“【为】【何】【救】【他】【们】？” 【赤】【游】【的】【大】【脑】【袋】【上】，7747【紧】【张】【的】【询】【问】【着】【江】【浔】。 【江】【浔】【却】【奇】【怪】【的】【看】【了】【它】【一】【眼】。 “【为】【何】【不】【救】？” “【你】……” 7747【咬】【着】【唇】，【却】【问】【不】【出】【什】【么】，【因】【果】【对】【于】【他】【们】【这】【些】，【不】【是】【没】【什】【么】【用】【吗】？【还】【在】【乎】【这】【点】【因】【果】？ “【既】【然】【生】【活】【在】【这】【片】【世】【界】，【自】【然】【逃】【脱】【不】【了】【这】【片】【世】【界】【的】【规】【则】，【不】【过】……【这】【些】【都】
【夏】【满】【阳】【笑】【意】【盎】【然】【地】【拉】【着】【高】【帆】【来】【到】【一】【片】【空】【旷】【的】【雪】【地】【上】，“【还】【记】【得】【那】【次】【我】【们】【在】【滑】【雪】【场】【打】【雪】【仗】【吗】？【这】【次】【可】【是】【难】【得】【在】【户】【外】，【纯】【天】【然】【的】【雪】，【要】【不】【要】【来】【打】【一】【场】【啊】？” “【我】【感】【觉】【你】【在】【挑】【衅】【我】。” 【她】【得】【意】【地】【摇】【摇】【头】，“【我】【在】【小】【瞧】【你】！” 【高】【帆】【立】【刻】【弯】【腰】【弄】【了】【一】【个】【小】【雪】【球】，【夏】【满】【阳】【吓】【得】【赶】**【开】，【趁】【着】【他】【追】【逐】【的】【间】【隙】，【也】【弄】【了】【个】【雪】
“【方】【天】，【你】【比】【我】【想】【象】【中】【回】【来】【的】【更】【快】【一】【些】。” 【刚】【刚】【回】【到】【卡】【牌】【馆】，【契】【克】【倏】【地】【一】【下】【浮】【现】【在】【方】【天】【的】【背】【后】，【他】【眼】【睛】【里】【闪】【过】【讶】【异】【的】【神】【色】，“【慕】【雨】【欣】【小】【姐】【呢】？【是】【出】【了】【什】【么】【意】【外】？” “【安】【心】，【契】【克】，【你】【应】【该】【对】【我】【有】【信】【心】【才】【是】，【慕】【雨】【欣】【很】【安】【全】，【其】【他】【人】【都】【没】【有】【回】【来】，【我】【有】【些】【事】【情】【先】【行】【一】【步】【而】【已】。”【方】【天】【说】【着】【伸】【出】【手】，【指】【间】【夹】【住】【了】【一】【张】