5 Things You May Not Know About Sidney Poitier
Like that today is his birthday. Happy 90th Birthday to the legend Sidney Poitier.
1.) He’s a Loyalist and a Patriot…
Sidney Poitier has dual citizenship in the United States and Great Britain, and there’s an interesting story of how he got it. His parents were tomato farmers from The Bahamas on a business trip in Miami, Florida, when Poitier’s mother, Evelyn, went into labor three months early. Poitier was born only three pounds and not expected to live more than a few weeks. He and his family remained in Miami for three months while he made his miraculous recovery in the hospital. After his health was normalized, Poitier and his family soon returned to the British colonized Bahamas, thus giving Poitier dual citizenship in both England and the United States.
2.) It’s actually Sir Sidney Poitier, thank you…
Remember when I told you just a few minutes ago that Poitier had dual citizenship? Well, thanks to his UK citizenship, Poitier was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1974. Born in the British commonwealth of the Bahamas, Poitier’s knighthood is substantive, and not honorary, since he is a British citizen.
3.) The Army was not his thing…
So he became a doctor instead, right?
In 1942, a homeless Poitier lied about his age (only 16 at the time) in order to enter military service for a warm place to sleep and a warm meal to eat. However he soon found that he wasn’t compatible with militaristic discipline. Not long in to his army stint the young Poitier threw a chair at a senior officer and found himself in the psychiatric ward. He was then given a medical discharge and returned to New York.
4.) Responsible for the “Smack Heard Around the World”…
Poitier has stated that he agreed to star in In the Heat of the Night only if Mr. Tibbs was allowed to slap Endicott back in retaliation. Apparently in the original script, he was supposed to react to being slapped by seething silently, without retaliating. I, for one, am glad he got that changed.
5.) Triple Threat
Sidney Poiter, Writer/Director/Actor
Sure, we all know that Poitier is great actor. But did you know that he also writes and directs? In 1968 he wrote the feature film For the Love of Ivy and from there he would go on to have a successful directing career. His 1980 comedy Stir Crazy, starting Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, became on of the highest grossing films of the year.
Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub