While the entertainment industry mourns Sidney Poitier’s death, many of his followers can find solace in honoring his long career.
Poitier was a trailblazing actor who portrayed parts with great sincerity and respect. In 1964, he became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Comedy-Drama for Ralph Nelson’s Lilies of the Field. His most noteworthy position, however, was as a father to Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Gina (who died in 2018), Anika, and Sydney, his six daughters.
His first four daughters were born to him during his first marriage to Juanita Hardy, which lasted from 1950 to 1965. Poitier’s daughters, Anika and Sydney, who were born during his marriage to current Canadian actress Joanna Shimku, regularly accompanied their father to Hollywood events and carved out successful careers in the industry. Sydney is a well-known actress, and Anika is the director.
Poitier admitted to being “a little harsh” on his children in a 2000 interview with Oprah Winfrey, but in a good way.
“In what I expect and demand of them in terms of values. My children respect my values, and I can see some of those values in them. That pleases me because my values are not constricting. They are human values. My kids are quite intelligent—all six of them,” Poitier said to Oprah in their sit-down interview.
Poitier’s professional praise is insignificant in comparison to his daughters’ admiration.
“After I won the Screen Actors Guild award [for lifetime achievement], one of my daughters said to me, ‘You’re pretty good, Dad.’ Now, this is a kid who most of the time thinks I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, so I know when she says things like that, she’s saying a lot more,” said the revered actor.