Sidney Poitier’s life has been a series of “firsts.” In 1958, he was the first black actor nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor for his role as an escaped convict chained to Tony Curtis in “The Defiant Ones.” And when he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1964, he was not only the first black actor to do so, he remained the only one until 2002.
The youngest of seven children, Sidney Poitier was born three months premature while his Bahamian parents were in Miami to sell tomatoes. Uncertain whether he would survive, his dad purchased a tiny casket, while his mother consulted a palm reader. ”The lady took her hand and started speaking to my mother: ‘Don’t worry about your son. He will survive,’ ” Poitier recalled. “And these were her words, she said: ‘He will walk with kings.’”