Hollywood has a long, expansive history that dates back an entire century and includes countless classic films filled with an equally innumerable amount of talented actors. Throughout that history, some of those actors would end up living on well beyond the shelf life of their work as their legacies have become one of the most important pieces of Hollywood’s DNA. That was certainly the case with Sidney Poitier, a Bahamian-American actor who worked to break the color barrier in Hollywood over half a century ago and devastatingly passed away this week, leaving his family and many more reflecting upon his legacy in remembrance. Now that legacy is going to be paid tribute in a new documentary that will look back upon his successful efforts in breaking the film industry’s color barrier and opening the door for so many other esteemed actors, set to be produced by Oprah Winfrey and Apple.
Poiter was born in 1927 and, by chance, in Miami, Florida, though he grew up in the Bahamas where he was the youngest of seven children and his father worked as a cab driver and selling produce. At fifteen he would go to live with family in Miami, already being a citizen having been born on U.S. soil, and would eventually go on to enlist for the Army during World War II. He wouldn’t serve long though, and would quickly discover acting when he joined the American Negro Theater of New York City duriing the 1940’s and, in 1947, becoming a founding member of the Committee for the Negro in the Arts, an organization that explored classism and racial exploitation. After that, the rest is history: his resume on IMDb spans from 1947 to 2001, including countless memorable films such as 1961’s A Raisin in the Sun, 1967’s In the Heat of the Night and countless others. On Rotten Tomatoes website, his top seven films are rated at 90% or better; not bad for the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best actor, a feat he accomplished in 1964. Plenty more could be said about Poitier and his successful career however it looks like Apple already has plans to do that, with plans to produce a documentary based upon the esteemed actors undeniable impact upon and legacy in Hollywood. Oprah Winfrey is set to serve as an executive producer on the project, and Reginald Hutland to direct. No release date has been announced yet, however Apple has confirmed the project has already been in production for a year so it could be closer than we think.
Hollywood is home to a number of talented African-American actors and actresses today, however many if not all of them would not be where they are today if it weren’t for the efforts of men like Sidney Poitier. With 55 acting credits under his belt, he certainly had a remarkable career that is still being remembered today. It isn’t likely to go away anytime soon either, with Apple’s exploration of Poitier’s journey through Hollywood set to release in the near future.