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Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win an Academy Award and the first to be a box office draw. He redefined how black actors were perceived, and eventually portrayed in Hollywood.
He broke through racial barriers as the first black winner of the best actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field, and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement. He was still, however, subjected to racism from whites and accused by blacks of being a sellout.
Poitier picked his roles with care, burying the old Hollywood idea that black actors could appear only in demeaning contexts as shoeshine boys, train conductors and maids.
He has a long list of movies with a career spanning over five decades. Some of the most iconic are seen below:
Poitier died on January 6 at the age of 94:
Additional information by Janet Whitton