Hollywood is mourning the loss of Sidney Poitier, whose death was announced Friday. He was 94.
Poitier became the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor in 1964 for his role in "Lilies of the Field." He is also remembered for starring in films like "The Defiant Ones," "Porgy and Bess," "A Raisin in the Sun," "To Sir, with Love," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," among others.
He also directed a trio of comedies in the '70s, in which he co-starred with Bill Cosby, as well as 1980's "Stir Crazy" and 1982's "Hanky Panky."
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1995, was given an honorary Oscar in 2002 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He served as Bahamian ambassador to Japan upon retiring from acting in 1997 and held the position until 2007.
Poitier is survived by six daughters and his current wife, Joanna Shimkus. He was previously married to Juanita Hardy.
Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Viola Davis are among the stars paying tribute to the Hollywood icon.
Oprah Winfrey: "For me, the greatest of the 'Great Trees' has fallen: Sidney Poitier. My honor to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish. Blessings to Joanna and his world of beautiful daughters."
Tyler Perry: "The grace and class that this man has shown throughout his entire life, the example he set for me, not only as a Black man but as a human being will never be forgotten. There is no man in this business who has been more of a North Star for me than Sidney Poitier. I'll never forget inviting him and Cicely [Tyson] to fly to South Africa with me. Selfishly, I wanted to hold them both captive for the hours-long trip as I literally sat at their feet and listened to their wisdom and experiences. It was life changing...Thank you for being willing to share YOU to make us all better."
Viola Davis: "This is a big one. No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life. The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!! It was an honor for my husband and I to share lunch with you at Spagos. You told us, 'If your dreams do not scare you, they're not big enough'! I put this quote on my daughter's wall. Rest well Mr. Poitier. Thank you! Thank you for leaving a legacy. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
Debbie Allen: "#SidneyPoitier, your last sunset with us is the dawn of many generations rising in the path of light you blazed. We will always hold you in our hearts and forever speak your name."
Whoopi Goldberg: "He showed us how to reach for the stars."
Jeffrey Wright: "Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love."
Anika Noni Rose: "RIP Sidney Poitier. Thank you for being so kind, for every door you broke down and every slap you gave in return."
Billy Dee Williams: "You were an incredibly beautiful, kind soul who changed the lives of so many, and a hero to all. The world was a much better place because you were in it, and we will miss you. RIP dear #SidneyPoitier."
Kerry Washington: "We lost an elegant King today. Thank you Sidney Poitier. For not only opening the door, but for walking in this world with endless grace and excellence, so that today, still, we follow behind you, reaching toward the example that you set. Rest In Peace and in Power. We love you."
Octavia Spencer: "I will never forget the occasion where I met Mr. Poitier. I had just won an award and he and Helen Mirren were walking through the kitchen to the stage to present. When I have an overload of adrenaline it has an adverse affect. I can't bend my knees. So, there I am with my heels and an award in my hands, shell shocked and sweaty, GLARING at the two of them. I was searching for the one word to say but couldn't remember any. I must've been a pitiful sight because he stopped with the biggest smile and congratulated me. I finally blurted out I love you… both. He told me he expected great things from me. There's something about hearing those words from a pioneer that changes you! Thank you, Mr. Poitier!! I've been riding high ever since!!"
Taraji P. Henson: "Rest easy King 👑 #sidneypoitier. Thank you for kicking down the doors. Thank you will never be enough for your blood sweat tears and determination. REST IN HEAVENLY PEACE!!! We will tell the generations to come about your legacy!!!"
Ava DuVernay: "Rest in triumph, Mr. Poitier. Thank you for this place where we now stand."
Blair Underwood: "I've been off social media for quite a while but could not let this moment pass without honoring the extraordinary & magnificent Mr. Sidney Poitier; my mentor & friend. In this moment, words are insufficient. But it must be said that I am filled with profound humility & gratitude that you allowed me into your life and inner circle of family and friends over the many years. You've given me guidance, wisdom, inspiration, hope and so much more. You once said that you expect twice as much from me than you did from yourself. I'll be chasing that for the rest of my days. Hoping to make you proud. The gift of your time and presence over the decades is not lost on me. You've exemplified selflessness and service in your every waking hour. You are the epitome of grace and eloquence & we were the lucky ones to bask in your brilliant light. Indeed, what a beautiful life you have lived & legacy to behold. Now, may you rest in eternal peace kind & gracious Sir! To Sir, With Love! #EndOfAnEra."
Steven Canals: "Trailblazer. Icon. Talent. Rest In Peace & Power, sir. And thank you."
Audra McDonald: "You paved the way for so many of us. Rest in Power Dear Sir."
Lenny Kravitz: "Sir #SidneyPoitier, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible."
Dionne Warwick: "He once caught me following him. He said “little girl what do you want” I muttered “can I have your autograph”. From that day he always called me little girl and asked if I wanted his autograph. It was something we laughed about. He was my hero & great friend. May he RIP ❤️."
Questlove: "King Sidney. One of the greatest actors of his generation. We all have our Poitier era. Growing up in the 70s I'd have to say that maybe Uptown Saturday Night was the first movie I ever watched. You already know I can spew paragraphs of what his activism represented especially in a time that his accolades were happening during the civil rights era—-but man this is more of a personal reflect because of the bonding his 70s movies did for my family & I. Rest In Peace. 🙏🏾 And thank you."