Oprah Winfrey has mourned the loss of “the greatest of the Great Trees” following the death of Sidney Poitier.
The 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' actor – who was the first black winner of the Best Actor Oscar for his work on 'Lilies of the Field' – passed away aged 94 this week, and TV legend Oprah, who considered Sidney a friend and mentor, has paid tribute to him on Instagram.
Oprah wrote: "For me, the greatest of the 'Great Trees' has fallen: Sidney Poitier. My honor to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish. Blessings to Joanna and his world of beautiful daughters (sic)”
The ‘Butler’ actress spoke about Sidney’s legacy during last year’s Black History Month, and detailed how he had laid the groundwork for her and many others within the industry.
She said at the time: "When I tell you profoundly, I could start weeping right now, I was profoundly, deeply, sincerely moved by that moment. We were being called coloured people at the time. [And] I had never seen a coloured man look like that or present like that. And I just thought if he could do that, I wonder what I could do.
“And because he did that, I was able to do what I have been able to do in the world, and every single other Black person who followed. It only happened because he was able not just to do that, but to be that. It's what he represented: his dignity, integrity, presence, grace, sense of honour, choice of characters only doing, and choosing roles that were going to reflect the best of what a Black person could be in the world."
Sidney’s passing was confirmed by Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Bahamas, on Friday (07.01.22).
Fred said: "We've lost a great a Bahamian and I've lost a personal friend."