Stanley Kramer approached him about co-starring in The Defiant Ones (1958), which made him a bigger star, but admitted that if he did not take the role of "Porgy" in Porgy and Bess (1959) for Samuel Goldwyn it might kill his chances to get the role in The Defiant Ones (1958) as Goldwyn had that much clout in Hollywood.
Along with Gary Cooper, is the most represented actor on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time, with five of his films on the list. They are: A Raisin in the Sun (1961) at #65, The Defiant Ones (1958) at #55, Lilies of the Field (1963) at #46, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) at #35, and In the Heat of the Night (1967) at #21.
Along with his name uttered in the lyrics, a photograph of Poitier is held by Busta Rhymes in the 1998 rap video "Gimme Some More".
Appointed an Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974. Although this is often mistaken to have been an honorary knighthood, it is actually a substantive knighthood, as Poitier is a citizen of The Bahamas, a Commonwealth realm which at the time of his appointment recognized the British Honours System. He is thus entitled to be known as Sir Sidney Poitier, but does not himself use this title.
Children: Beverly Poitier-Henderson, Pamela Poitier, Sherri Poitier, Gina Poitier (with Juanita Hardy); Anika Poitier, Sydney Tamiia Poitier (with Joanna Shimkus).
Considered for the male lead for The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), opposite Diana Sands, who had played the part of "Doris" on Broadway.
During the early 1980s a man named David Hampton conned his way into the homes of several wealthy and prominent New Yorkers (including a dean at Columbia University) by falsely claiming to be Poitier's son. Playwright John Guare, fascinated by the way the story illustrated the magic that the mere mention of Poiter's name held for people of his generation (especially white people), based his play "Six Degrees of Separation" on Hampton's story. The play was adapted into the movie Six Degrees of Separation (1993) in 1993, with Will Smith as the character based upon Hampton.
First black actor to place autograph, hand, and footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (June 23, 1967).
Fluent in Russian.
Former brother-in-law of light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore.
From 1998 to 2003 Sidney Poitier served as a Member of the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company.
Future wife Joanna Shimkus encouraged him to direct his first film, Buck and the Preacher (1972), after he and the original director could not agree creatively.
Has an honorary doctorate degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Has four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters .
His Stir Crazy (1980) was the highest grossing film directed by a black filmmaker until Scary Movie (2000), directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans almost 20 years later.
His performance as Detective Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night (1967) is ranked #19 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes & Villains.
His performance as Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night (1967) is ranked #20 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His performance as Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night (1967) is ranked #55 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His role in The Bedford Incident (1965) marked the first time he would play a role in which his character's race was not an issue.
In 1963 he became the first black man to win an Academy Award, for his role as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963).