Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier led a tremendous career full of milestones since landing his first major film role in the ‘50s. He was the first Black man to ever win the Best Actor Oscar for his part in the 1963 film Lilies of the Field. The Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office confirmed the actor’s death to Fox News on January 7, 2022. Sidney, who died at age 94, is survived by his six daughters who have supported him throughout his time in Hollywood.
Sidney credited his parents for teaching him all that he knew about being a parent. He grew up in the Bahamas as the youngest of seven children in a family of tomato farmers. “My dad was a remarkable man, a good person, a principled individual, a man of integrity,” the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award winner told Closer in February 2020. “And my mother was the most amazing person. All that I am, she taught me.”
Sidney married dancer Juanita Hardy in 1950 and welcomed four daughters together: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina. At the time, he was still working at a barbecue restaurant as he searched for a role that would lead to his big break. The couple divorced in 1965 and he fell in love with his The Lost Man costar Joanna Shimkus. The pair were married in 1976 and welcomed two daughters together, Sydney and Anika.
Each year on Sidney’s birthday, Father’s Day or on days they just wanted to spread love, his daughters would take to social media to post sweet tributes. Beverly shared a throwback photo on Instagram of Sydney and her dad on the beach in February 2021. Anika posted a sweet photo of the whole family together the year before. Sidney was surrounded by his daughters in the snap and always valued spending time with his family.
“We’re blessed to have him as a dad,” Sydney said in a June 2013 interview. “The world knows him as this iconic, legendary, historical figure. But he’s also just a really, really good dad.”
Scroll to meet Sidney’s six daughters.
Beverly Poitier-Henderson is the oldest daughter of Sidney and Juanita. Beverly started her own jewelry line called Kazuri West and sells custom jewelry. Per IMDb, Beverly also worked in the casting department on the 1991 film Separate But Equal. She did not venture into acting, but instead wrote and self-published the 2001 book Nana.
“Self-publishing the book was extremely empowering. Why would I wait for a publishing house to tell me my work is good and put a stamp of approval on it or am I going to have enough confidence to put it out here myself?” she said in an August 2001 interview with Vidette Online.
Pamela Poitier did follow in her famous father’s footsteps and pursued an acting career of her own. She appeared in the 1980 film Stir Crazy alongside Richard Pryor. She took her talents to the theater scene as a Broadway understudy before moving to the Bahamas. Pamela appeared in the documentary Islands of Life about preserving the ecosystems in the Bahamas.
“I live off the grid,” she told students at R.B. Hunt Elementary School in St. Augustine when presenting the film. “I get my electrical power from the sun, I catch rainwater on my roof and I use composting toilets.”
Sherri Poitier, much like Pamela, snagged a couple of film roles early on in her life. She had a role in the 1977 film A Piece of the Action. She also appeared in the 2001 film The Fighting Temptations.
Gina Poitier died on May 27, 2018. She owned her own designer boutique after graduating from the State University of New York in Albany. Gina welcomed three children with her husband, Gaetan Gouraige, before her death.
Sydney Poitier has led the most successful acting career out of all of her siblings. Her film credits include roles in Park Day and Clinical. Sydney starred in the Canadian crime series Carter from 2018 to 2019.
Anika Poitier moved to New York City when she was 18 to pursue acting. She made her film debut alongside John Travolta in the 2001 film Swordfish.