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Sidney Poitier: A Trailblazing Life in His Own Words

REMOVES REFERENCE TO THE BAHAMAS - President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier during ceremonies in the East Room at the White House in Washington on, Aug. 12, 2009.  Poitier, the groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw, died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. He was 94. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
REMOVES REFERENCE TO THE BAHAMAS - President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sidney Poitier during ceremonies in the East Room at the White House in Washington on, Aug. 12, 2009. Poitier, the groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw, died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. He was 94. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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New York (AP) -- As a trailblazing actor to generations of Black performers in Hollywood, Sidney Poitier often spoke about his larger off-screen role.

Poitier, who died Thursday at the age of 94, entered the film industry at a time when portrayals of African Americans were generally stereotypical. But Poitier, who refused to play such caricatures, emerged as a matinee idol, an Oscar-winning actor and one of the most potent and graceful screen presences of his time, paving the way for countless who followed him.