The celebrated actor became the first black star to be nominated for an Academy Award with 1958’s “The Defiant Ones” and, six years later, he was the first to win the best actor Oscar for his performance in 1963’s “Lilies of the Field.”
Poitier achieved widespread popularity in a series of groundbreaking roles at a time of great racial tension in America in the 1950s and 1960s.
He balanced success with a sense of duty to choose projects that addressed bigotry and stereotypes, including his 1967 classics “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “To the Teacher with Love.”.
“I was in conflict with great sadness and a sense of celebration when I learned of Sir Sidney Poitier’s passing,” Cooper said Friday.
“Sadness that he would no longer be here to tell him how much he means to us, but celebration that he did so much to show the world that those who come from the humblest beginnings can change the planet,” he said.
“We will miss him deeply, but his is a legacy that will never be forgotten.“, said the official.
Poitier was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2002 for his “extraordinary performances” on the big screen and his “dignity, style and intelligence” outside of it.