Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier

Man, Actor, Icon

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
The life and career of Sidney Poitier are analyzed in this biography of the actor, highlighting his work as the only black leading man during the civil rights era and the honors he has received for his work for racial equality in Hollywood.

The University of North Carolina Press
In the first full biography of actor Sidney Poitier, Aram Goudsouzian analyzes the life and career of a Hollywood legend, from his childhood in the Bahamas to his 2002 Oscar for lifetime achievement. Poitier is a gifted actor, a great American success story, an intriguing personality, and a political symbol; his life and career illuminate America's racial history.

In such films as Lilies of the Field, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Poitier's middle-class, mannered, virtuous screen persona contradicted prevailing film stereotypes of blacks as half-wits, comic servants, or oversexed threats. His screen image and public support of nonviolent integration assuaged the fears of a broad political center, and by 1968, Poitier was voted America's favorite movie star.

Through careful readings of every Poitier film, Goudsouzian shows that Poitier's characters often made sacrifices for the good of whites and rarely displayed sexuality. As the only black leading man during the civil rights era, Poitier chose roles and public positions that negotiated the struggle for dignity. By 1970, times had changed and Poitier was the target of a backlash from film critics and black radicals, as the new heroes of "blaxploitation" movies reversed the Poitier model.

In the 1970s, Poitier shifted his considerable talents toward directing, starring in, and producing popular movies that employed many African Americans, both on and off screen. After a long hiatus, he returned to starring roles in the late 1980s. More recently, the film industry has reappraised his career, and Poitier has received numerous honors recognizing his multi-faceted work for black equality in Hollywood. As this biography affirms, Poitier remains one of American popular culture's foremost symbols of the possibilities for and limits of racial equality.


This biography examines the remarkable life and career of Sidney Poitier--a gifted actor, a great American success story, an intriguing personality, and a political symbol. The book covers Poitier's childhood in the Bahamas, his stage experiences in New York, his Hollywood successes in the 1960s (including the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field), the setbacks of the 1970s, and the new directions in the 1980s and 1990s. Poitier received the 2002 Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Baker
& Taylor

Traces the life and career of Sidney Poitier, highlighting his work as the only black leading man during the civil rights era and the honors he has received for his work for racial equality in Hollywood.

Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004
ISBN: 9780807828434
0807828432
Branch Call Number: 791.43028092 POI
Characteristics: 480 p. : ill

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