Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE, born February 20, 1927 (age 89), was one of the most famous black entertainers of the 1960s. Born on Cat Island in the Bahamas, he came to New York to seek work as an actor.
He was known for his groundbreaking roles in dramatic film,  such as:
- To Sir, With Love - an unemployed engineer falls back on schoolteaching, and finds he can make a difference in the lot of high school kids in London.
- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? - a leading physician for the UN is introduced by his new bride to her well to do, progressive-liberal white family. Oh, yes, he's black! (Remade as the comedy Guess Who with Ashton Kutcher.)
- In the Heat of the Night - a police detective helps break a murder case, after overcoming some initial hostility from sheriff Rod Steiger.
Poitier played mostly noble, dignified roles. A more recent film was The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, in which he plays a man with an intense devotion to his carpentry work; who indeed built most of the buildings in his small rural town; but who becomes the target of a mean-spirited campaign to take his land away from him by having him declared mentally incompetent.
- In 1967 three of his movies -- To Sir, With Love, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? -- led all others at the box office. NY Times