Hollywood Reacts to the Passing of Sidney Poitier

The acting community is reeling from the news that the legendary actor of the stage and screen Sidney Poitier has passed away at the age of 94.

Poitier’s illustrious career and groundbreaking contributions to American film left an immense impact not only on decades of audiences but on generations of fellow actors. Many stars of the big screen took to social media to pay final respects and tell the world what his work, and his life, meant to them.

Tyler Perry wrote a lengthy heartfelt tribute to Sidney via his Instagram account.


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“The grace and class that this man has shown throughout his entire life, the example he set for me, not only as a black man but as a human being will never be forgotten.” Perry wrote of the actor’s impact. “There is no man in this business who has been more of a North Star for me than Sidney Poitier.”

Fellow Academy Award-winner Viola Davis honored Poitier as an inspiration to her own life and illustrious career.


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“No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life,” she wrote via Instagram, even sharing a quote he shared with her directly over lunch on one occasion: “If your dreams do not scare you, they’re not big enough.”

Whoopi Goldberg quoted the famed song “To Sir With Love,” a nod to one of Poitiers most beloved roles in the film of the same name via Twitter. “He showed us how to reach for the stars,” she mused.

Actor Blair Underwood returned to social media after a lengthy absence specifically to pay tribute to the late legend, who was a personal mentor.

“You once said that you expect twice as much from me than you did from yourself, I’ll be chasing that for the rest of my days. Hoping to make you proud.”


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“Indeed, what a beautiful life you have lived & legacy to behold. Now, may you rest in eternal peace kind & gracious Sir!”

Actor Jeffrey Wright conjured up memories of To Sir, With Love as well, calling Poitier a “landmark actor” and a “genuinely regal man” while sharing a photo of him in his younger days.

Questlove heralded Poitier as “one of the greatest actors of his generation” and noted the bonding effect his films had among him and his family.


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“Mama” Tina Knowles-Lawson recalled the several opportunities she had to meet and speak with Poitier, marking him as “A true class act! A trailblazer for black leading men…”


A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson)

Coleman Domingo honored Poitier as being his mentor without even knowing it. “When I saw him, I saw the artist that I could be,” he wrote. “Today let us give a standing ovation to Mr. Poitier for this life well lived. May we all hope to enjoy such a legacy.”


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Actor Wendell Pierce shared a quote from Arthur Miller that eloquently summed up the lasting legacy and influence a performer of Poitier’s caliber leaves behind.

There is a certain immortality involved in theater, not created by monuments and books, but through the knowledge an actor keeps to his dying day that on a certain afternoon, in an empty and dusty theater, he cast the shadow of a being that was not himself but the distillation of all that he had ever observed; all the unsingable heart song the ordinary man may feel but never utter, he gave voice to. And by that somehow joins the ages.”

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