Poitier died of heart failure, cancer

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Actor Sidney Poitier died in Beverly Hills from a combination of heart failure, prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s dementia, according to his death certificate made public Tuesday.

Poitier, who broke color barriers when he became the first Black performer to win an Oscar for a leading role, died Jan. 6 at age 94.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the death certificate issued by the LA County Department of Public Health and first obtained by TMZ, actor Sidney Poitier died of cardiopulmonary failure, Alzheimer’s dementia and prostate cancer
  • Born in Miami but raised in the Bahamas, Poitier won the best actor Academy Award for his work in “Lilies of the Field” in 1963, and went on to become a major box office draw
  • He cemented his legendary status with a trio of iconic 1967 roles: as Mark Thackeray in “To Sir with Love,” Detective Virgil Tibbs in “In the Heat of the Night” and as John Prentice in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
  • Poitier is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joanna, five daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A sixth daughter, Gina, died in 2018

According to the death certificate issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and first obtained by TMZ, Poitier died of cardiopulmonary failure, Alzheimer’s dementia and prostate cancer.

Born in Miami but raised in the Bahamas, Poitier won the best actor Academy Award for his work in “Lilies of the Field” in 1963, and went on to become a major box office draw, a notion that was unheard of for a Black performer in the 1960s.

He cemented his legendary status with a trio of iconic 1967 roles: as Mark Thackeray in “To Sir with Love,” Detective Virgil Tibbs in “In the Heat of the Night” and as John Prentice — fiancé to a white woman — in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Poitier’s other films included “No Way Out,” “The Defiant Ones,” “Blackboard Jungle,” “Porgy and Bess,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “A Patch of Blue,” “Edge of the City” and “Sneakers.”

As a director, he made history as the first Black man to helm a film that earned $100 million at the box office, with the success of the 1980 film “Stir Crazy” starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

Poitier directed eight other films including “Buck and the Preacher,” “Uptown Saturday Night” and “A Piece of the Action.”

He also received acclaim on the small screen, portraying Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the miniseries “Separate But Equal” and Nelson Mandela in the TV film “Mandela and de Klerk.”

Poitier is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joanna, five daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A sixth daughter, Gina, died in 2018.