Sidney Poitier, the first black actor to win an Academy Award, leaves behind six daughters. Here, you can learn all about his incredible offspring.
Sidney Poitier, one of Hollywood’s greatest actors, died on January 7 at the age of 94. When he won an Academy Award as Best Actor for Lilies of the Field in 1964, Sidney Poitier was a trailblazer. Born in the Bahamas and raised there until the age of 15, he began his acting career on Broadway before making a name for himself in Hollywood with such films as Blackboard Jungle, The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and To Sir With Love. In 1974, Sidney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2009 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
He was just as content with his personal life as he was with his professional one! He and Juanita Hardy had four daughters together: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, and Gina, all of whom were born after the marriage in 1950. The couple divorced in 1965. In 1976, Sidney married his co-star Joanna Shimkus from The Lost Man and the couple had two daughters, Sydney and Anika. Continue reading below to learn more about his six sons and daughters.
Her parents, Sidney and Juanita, have one other daughter named Beverly. Except for her time as a member of the casting team for 1991’s Separate But Equal, Beverly has mostly avoided the limelight. In addition to her work as an actress, she’s also worked as a video producer on a few projects. Her jewelry line, which she sells on Etsy, is called Nana, and in 2001, she self-published her first book.
“Nana is my first novel and I really enjoyed writing it. It was extremely fast because the characters just seemed to take over,” Beverly told Vidette Online. “The idea came from a lot of places – from a little old lady I knew at church, members of my family and things like that.”
She decided to follow in her father’s footsteps as an actress when Pamela was born on April 12th, 1954. She was cast in Richard Pryor’s Stir Crazy in 1980, Ghost Dad in 1990, and The Jackal in 1997 by Bruce Willis. Pamela returned to her father’s homeland, the Bahamas, later in life. In the Bahamas, she produced the documentary Islands of Life, which highlighted the importance of conserving the island’s ecological diversity.
On the island, Pamela also established an acting school. ‘I decided to teach these classes to share my knowledge of Lee Strasberg’s acting method,’ Beverly told The Tribune in 2013, ‘which I learned from him and was then asked by him to teach in his school in New York City’ There are a lot of talented people in the Bahamas, and my father is just one of them.
Sherri, who was born on July 12th, 1956, caught the acting bug at a young age as well. She appeared in A Piece of the Action in 1977 and The Fighting Temptations in 2001. Sherri took a break from the public eye after her acting career faltered, and now she maintains a low-profile lifestyle.. Currently, Sherri works as a chef, according to The Sun.
Besides her degree from the State University of New York at Albany, Gina has also graduated from the American College of Applied Arts’ Fashion Merchandising program in Atlanta. Bejai Designs was the name of the boutique she opened after she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. It was in 1988 that she wed Gaetan Gouraige, and they had four children together. On May 27, 2018, at the age of 57, she passed away.
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
This is the most successful of all of Sidney’s children when it comes to a Hollywood career: Sydney Tamiia. It wasn’t long before she landed a role in a television series called First Years after graduating from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She then went on to star in shows like Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, Chicago P.D., and Homecoming, among others. In addition to her husband, Dorian Heartsong, Sydney has a son with him.
Sydney once revealed her favorite movie by her father was To Sir, With Love. “He played this empowering teacher, and I just remember feeling super proud that he was my dad,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. “The world knows him as this iconic, legendary, historical figure. But he’s also just a really, really good dad,” she added.
In New York City, Anika was born on February 29, 1972. As a director and an actor, she’s drawn the attention of Hollywood as well. With Halle Berry in 2001’s Swordfish, and Yard Sale in 2010, these actors played prominent roles. During the same interview with her sister, Sidney, Anita revealed how she and her sisters would dress up their father in hilarious costumes while he was filming. “We’d have to have him order room service,” she vowed. “And he’d have to wear pink barrettes and lipstick to open the door.”
Sidney Poitier Wife, Joanna Shimkus
A long-term love affair between Sidney Poitier and Joanna Shimkus spanned more than a half-century.
PEOPLE confirmed Friday morning that the legendary actor had passed away Thursday night at the age of 94. On April 13, 1964, Poitier became the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar for his work in such films as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and Lilies of the Field.
He married Juanita Hardy in 1950, and they divorced in 1965; their marriage lasted for six years. Bev and Pamela had four daughters together: Gina (whom they named Gina), Pamela (whom they named Beverly), and Sherri (who they named Beverly). In 1976, he married Canadian actress Shimkus, with whom he had two daughters, Anika and Sydney, together.
“My wife and my children mean the most to me,” Poitier said in 2016 when he received a lifetime achievement award from People magazine. It was Shimkus’ secret to a long-lasting relationship that he added “As a good cook as I am with 49 years of marriage under our belt, Every night, I prepare a meal for him…. I treat him well.”
He admitted that his children “would be unlikely to say that I’m easy” as a father in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey for the October 2000 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. In regard to Shimkus, “She’d tell you that I’m a perfectionist to some degree and that I demand a certain level of loyalty and respect for relationships from others. My wife thinks I’m a little harsh with the kids from time to time.”
When Shimkus was interviewed in 1998 for the PBS documentary Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light, she talked about their wedding day and how Harry Belafonte was best man. With regards to interracial relationships, she said they didn’t cause any problems in their daily lives.
“I guess we were just destined to be [together],” she said at the time.
“I grew up in Canada and I never really had any kind of prejudice — it’s unlike America. I just never had those feelings. And we’ve never had a problem, actually. It could be that we lead a very quiet life. It could be that it’s just the way it is, I don’t really know. But I never really did see him as a Black man. I mean, I know he is Black, but I just saw him as a man, and he was just a wonderful person. An amazing human being.”
“The thing that attracted me to him the most, I think, is his integrity and his honesty [and] his loyalty to his family. He’s just an amazing human being. He’s just a good, good, good person,” she said, adding, “And he’s cute too, yes! And he was especially gorgeous then. He still is too now, but he was very, very attractive then.”
Due to health issues, Poitier was unable to travel to London to accept his lifetime achievement award at the 2016 BAFTA Awards. Instead, the award was presented to him at home in Los Angeles. He thanked his family and friends for their support at the time in his speech.
“Today my cup runneth over because I am here with my daughter and the future filmmakers of the world in celebration of this wonderful art form,” Poitier said. “I have been very lucky. I have tried to be a good human being, a good actor, a good director, a good filmmaker. My wife is with me here. My wife, my children and my friends have been keeping me on my feet. To my family, my life force, I am nothing without you. And all of you, thank you for your warm embrace and this extraordinary moment and memory I shall cherish.”