I’m Sad To Announce: Sidney Poitier, 1927-2022

Sidney Poitier has passed, age 94 (February 20, 1927 to January 6, 2022).  Here is an obituary from CNN, and an obituary from the Guardian.

An acting legend and all round decent human being, Poitier changed hollyweird.  Though racism precluded him from romantic roles in the 1960s, his choice of films and performances smashed through barriers that denied other Black actors and actresses leading roles and quality parts.

“To Sir With Love”

“In The Heat Of The Night”

“Blackboard Jungle”

“Porgy & Bess”

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

The list goes on and on.  Even in his later commercial films, he was memorable (“Shoot To Kill”, “The Jackal”, “Sneakers”).  The only regrettable part of Poitier’s career was the films he did with Cosby, and I doubt Poitier knew of or approved of the other’s prurient behaviour.

You can tell yourself a thousand times that no one lives forever, but that doesn’t make someone’s death any less shocking. I grew up watching Poitier, he was a massive influence on me.

I do NOT believe in superstition, such as “deaths in threes” nonsense.  But if someone else dies in the next week after Poitier and Betty White, I’ll be pissed.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    I’m so glad you mentioned Sneakers, Rhiannon. It’s one of my favorite movies.
    Isaac Asimov, in reviewing Star Wars said something to the effect that it is fun sometimes to watch a movie where you can check your brain at the door. That is exactly what Sneakers is. It is a big goofy romp. Unfortunately, because it has what was called back in the day an All Star Cast, nobody except Redford and Kingsley get nearly enough screen time. Poitier, perhaps is the most wasted talent of the lot because he has to play straight man to the lunatic zoo spinning around him. But, when he does have lines, my eyes snap to him the way they would to an atomic explosion going off on the horizon.

  2. says

    Again, I don’t believe in superstitions about threes, but bloody hell, it happened. Betty White, Sidney Poitier, and now Ronnie Spector.

    Ronnie Spector wasn’t just one of the great 1960s Motown singers with a pile of hits to her name, she also represented the sexual liberation of women. The Ronnettes were sexy without being sex objects, wearing miniskirts and being popular at a time when it was still scandalous.

    They were also notable for their sex appeal to white audiences at a time when racist marriage segregation was still “the law”. The Loving v. Virginia case only came in 1967. The three members of The Ronnettes were of mixed ancestry (two sisters and their cousin; the sisters’ mother was of African-American and Cherokee descent, their father Irish).

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Ronnie Spector, ’60s icon who sang ‘Be My Baby,’ dies at 78

    Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the girl group The Ronettes, has died. She was 78.

    Spector died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said. “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude,” a statement said. No other details were revealed.

    [. . .]

    “We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick,” Spector said in her memoir. “When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find. Then we’d get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more.”

    [. . .]

    The group’s debut album, “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica,” was released in 1964. Five of its 12 tracks had made it to the U.S. Billboard charts.

    “Nothing excites me more than just being onstage, having fun and flirting and winking to the guys and stuff like that,” she told People magazine in 2017. “I just have so much fun. It’s just the best feeling when I go out and they say, “Ladies and gentlemen…” —my heart stops for a minute—“…Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes!” Then I just go out there and the crowd reacts the way they react and I can go on singing forever.”