October 17, 2021

Glimpse inside Sidney Poitier's Life as a Dad, Granddad & Great-Granddad

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Actor Sidney Poitier has achieved many milestones in his career, but his greatest accomplishment is being a father of six and a devoted grandfather and great-grandfather. Here's a glimpse of his blissful life.

Actor Sidney Poitier did not become a cinema legend overnight. Before debuting his career in 1950 and having a school named after him, he worked odd jobs, including deliveryman and dishwasher.

The first Black matinee idol in Hollywood, Poitier, 94, is best known for his exceptional performance in the film "Lilies of the Field," which earned him several recognitions, including Best Actor in the 1964 Academy Awards. 


Sidney Poitier at the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding Benefit on August 14, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. | Photo: Getty Images


Poitier has accomplished several milestones in his extensive career. Reflecting on his legacy in the entertainment industry, the renowned actor said in a recent interview with Closer Weekly:


"If I'm remembered for having done a few good things, and if my presence has sparked some good energies, that's plenty."

The Oscar winner retired from making films nearly 20 years ago. Though he rarely appears in the spotlight, Poitier has been enjoying his retirement, relishing moments with his large and growing family.

Sidney Poitier on November 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. | Photo: Getty Images



The Bahamian-American actor considers his blended family his most significant achievement. Poitier has six beautiful grown-up daughters - Sydney, Anika, Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina.

Sydney and Anika are Poitier's daughters with his wife, 77-year-old Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus. The award-winning actor has been married to his wife since 1976. They first met on the set of "The Lost Man" movie.

Before tying the knot with Shimkus, the former matinee idol was previously married to his ex-wife Juanita Hardy from 1950 until 1965. His ex-wife, a former model and dancer, is the mother of Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina.


Sidney Poitier gaces the opening night of "Born For This" at The Broad Stage on July 20, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images


Having a big family which consists of four generations has filled Poitier's life with joy. During the movie icon's 90th birthday, Shimkus, Hardy, and their close friends celebrated the special occasion.


Celebrating Poitier's birthday is a meaningful tradition his daughters have been doing for their loving dad.

Twenty-seven of the veteran actor's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and godchildren also attended the event held at Spago, the family patriarch's favorite restaurant in Beverly Hills. 


In addition to sharing a sumptuous meal at Poitier's favorite restaurant, the actor's whole family gathered up in a memorable portrait. The Hollywood Reporter shared the snap on Instagram in 2017. 

The former actor, who looked youthful in a formal suit and pants, flashed a big smile while clapping his hands. Poitier left many fans speechless. An admirer noted, "The greatest of the great!"



Celebrating Poitier's birthday is a meaningful tradition his daughters have been doing for their loving dad. When the former filmmaker turned 92, Anika expressed her love for him by dedicating an Instagram post. 

In her February 2019 post, Anika featured her stunning sisters surrounding their famous father. The photo showed how the radiant siblings share remarkable similarities with the retired actor. 


Meanwhile, in February 2021, in honor of her father's 94th birthday, Beverly took a trip down memory lane and shared on Instagram an old yet sweet photo of the actor running on the beach with Sydney.

In Beverly's delightful snap, Poitier smiled as he donned matching cream-colored pants and a blazer. A man in blue shorts and pants behind him appeared to be photo-bombing the image as he walked across the shot.

Not minding the man behind him, the talented actor appeared to be running slow on the white sand, close to Sydney who wore printed black dress and sported pigtails.


In the previous year, Beverly posted another heartwarming photo on Instagram, which appeared to have been taken at home. In it, Poitier and his family members, including little children, beamed brightly at the camera.

A shelf full of books, a lighted lamp, and a few picture frames added a warm vibe in Beverly's snap. "4 Generations," she wrote in the caption along with a birthday greeting for her father's 93rd birthday. 


For Poitier, having daughters in the family has been a wonderful experience. In a 2013 interview, the doting family man and his three daughters recalled fun childhood memories with their dad.

Sydney revealed that she and her sisters would clip pink barrettes on their father's hair and apply lipstick on his lips. Although their dad enjoyed playing dress-up, Sydney added he was also strict towards them.

Meanwhile, Anika expressed her admiration for the values her dad instilled in her growing up. Sydney added that her siblings are blessed to call the legendary actor their father and described him as "a really good dad."




In the same way that the sisters are fortunate to have Poitier as their father, the acclaimed actor feels lucky to have met his first great-grandaughter, Ayele, who was born in 2005.

Poitier realized that his time on earth is limited, so he wrote a book in Ayele's honor. In 2008, the proud great-grandfather published "Life Beyond Measure, Letters to My Great-Granddaughter."

The 2008 book he made for Ayele is reminiscent of his 1980 autobiography, "This Life," but it had a personal touch, with few references to his illustrious movie career.




Poitier seems content with his life and grateful that it turned out great, having been blessed with an outstanding career in the industry and a happy extended family.

The actor recently received a special honor from Arizona State University. The prestigious university built a new film school named after him - The Sidney Poitier New American Film School.

Sidney Poitier attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014. | Photo: Getty Images


The film school serves as a tribute to Poitier's achievements and the unforgettable legacy in Hollywood. The university named the school after him because he also represents the institution's drive for excellence.

Aside from excellence, the university also embodies the actor's passion for helping others. On behalf of Poitier, Beverly said her father was deeply honored to share his name with a school that hones younger generations.