Sidney Poitier’s Family Describes His Last Day of Life as They Mourn Him in Loving Tribute

Gracious Egedegbe
Jan 10, 2022
02:28 P.M.
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Movie icon Sidney Poitier broke many hearts with his passing a few days after the new year. The actor's family reflects on his last day as they pay him loving tributes.

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From a childhood in the Bahamas to winning an Oscar for lifetime achievement, it is safe to say actor and director Sidney Poitier is the personification of success. The movie star and ambassador had a career that spanned many decades.

Poitier made a splash in the movie industry and continued to take off until his ultimate end. The actor was undoubtedly his family, who now reflects on his memories as they mourn him in loving tribute.

Late actor Sidney Poitier with his ex wife and kids at an event. | Photo: Getty Images

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POITIER'S LAST DAYS OF LIFE

The actor, whose accomplished career lasted for more than ten decades, died on 6th January 2022 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 94. The "Lilies of the Field" actor's grieving family described his personality in a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter after his death.

According to the statement released, the grieving family is happy Poitier spent his last days surrounded by his loved ones. His family described him as the "guiding light" who brightens up their lives with infinite love. 

Sidney Poitier holding his Academy Award circa the 1960s. | Photo: Getty Images

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While many knew Poitier as an intelligent, accomplished actor and activist, his family revealed more to the "In the Heat of the Night" star. On his personality away from the screen, the family noted:

"He was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first."

Sidney Poitier speaks onstage during the 2016 Carousel Of Hope Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 8, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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Other celebrities, including actor Denzel Washington who said it was a privilege to call Poitier his friend, paid tribute to the late actor. Poitier's kids appreciated their friendly gestures in their statement:

"We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world."

Actor Sidney Poitier attends the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation's 6th Annual Christmas Gala and Fundraiser at Montage Beverly Hills on December 19, 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

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POITIER WAS A PROUD GIRL DAD

Poitier is survived by his wife, actress Joanna Shimkus, six daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The movie icon died, leaving behind his large family, including daughters Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Anika, Sydney, and Gina Poitier-Gouraige, who preceded him in death.

The movie star was married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage to Juanita Hardy from 1950 to 1965 produced four girls Beverly, Pamela Sherri, and Gina. With Shimkus, whom he married in 1976, he gave birth to Anika, Sydney.

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

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Poitier led a significantly private life, ensuring his girls' life and family affairs were kept away from the spotlight. As a loving father, the late actor raised his girls with the necessary morals. 

Once during an interview, Poitier, who was the first black man to win an Oscar, revealed he tried to be "a little hard" on his children, but in a good way. The actor made it known that his kids respect his value which he already taught them. 

Poitier's life sure has a lot of females in it.

Sidney Poitier photographed while filming "In the Heat of the Night" in 1967. | Photo: Getty Images

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He added that his values were "human values" as he went on to gush over his kids' intelligence. If there was one thing Poitier was proud of aside from his accomplishments, it was his daughters with Gina. When she died, it was a devastating experience for the actor.   

Gina died at 57 in 2018. The cause of her death was not revealed, but her family described her passing as "quick and unexpected." According to Gina's obituary, she was spoiled by her mother and second mom "Mama Jean" and spent many days on her father's lap.

Sidney Poitier, his wife Joanna Shimkus, and their two children Anika and Sidney circa the 1990s. | Photo: Getty Images

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POITIER KIDS' GENDER

His children's gender didn't matter to Poitier; what he cared about most was being a father. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the proud dad of six girls described being a dad as "miraculous" and "wonderful" regardless of the child's gender. 

On several occasions, the actor has made it clear that he was happy being the dad of 6 girls, and he has every reason to be. While some of Poitier's kids keep out of the spotlight, others are famous on TV. 

Sidney Poitier & Family during The 6th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Photo: Getty Images

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His daughter Sydney is an actress. She began her acting career in 1998 and has since been on series such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Hawaii Five-0," and "Chicago P.D." She graduated with a bachelor's degree in acting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

His daughter Gina who had already passed away, was an administrative assistant. Pamela also pursued a career in acting. She has acting credits in movies as "Liberty & Bash," "Savannah," and "The Jacka."

Sherri works as a cook, and Beverly is a designer for Poitier Henderson Jewelry. Anika, for her part, is a filmmaker, and she rarely appears in front of the camera.

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 THREE WOMEN IN POITIER'S LIFE

Poitier's life sure has a lot of females in it. His first wife, Juanita Hardy, is famous for being the founder of Tiger Management Consulting Group. Poitier was married to Hardy for 15 years before their divorce in 1965. Reports later surfaced that an affair with actress Diahann Carroll broke his marriage. 

Carroll, an American actress, singer, model, and activist, confirmed the rumors in her memoir "The Legs Are the Last To Go," She claimed to have had a nine-year affair with Poitier.

Portrait photo of Sidney Poitier. | Photo: Getty Images

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However, following his divorce and relationship scandal, Poitier fell in love with actress Shimkus, whom he remained with until his death. Poitier and his second wife had a love life many envied, and while receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2016, he noted that his wife and kids mean the most to him. 

The late actor's wife also reflected on their long-lasting marriage in the American Masters PBS documentary Sidney Poitier: "One Bright Light." According to Shimkus, she and Poitier were destined to be together.

Sidney Poitier and Joanna Shimkus during Giorgio Armani Prive in Los Angeles. | Photo: Getty Images

The actress revealed that their skin color and race were never a problem in their family, and she viewed her husband as a great human being. The widow pointed out his"integrity and honesty" attracted her to the star.

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