V incent Canby, The New York Times’s worldly-wise film critic, once wrote of Sidney Poitier that the actor ‘does not make movies, he makes milestones’. In the age of Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes and Chris Rock, Poitier’s influence runs the gamut of American cinema. Put simply, the man has few peers. Poitier interviews are a rarity – he has always shrouded his lives, both personal and professional, in secrecy. Now well into the autumn of his life, he takes his place alongside Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr as one of the 20th century’s most eloquent voices on race. Poitier’s office, replete with several thousand feet of deep pile carpeting, varnished floorboards, books and paintings, is set within the Sierra Towers apartment block. The building nudges the postcode margins of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. His assistant Marlene greets me at the door of the fifth-floor office – closely followed by Poitier. The actor’s apartment is next door. ‘Good to see you,’ he says, offering up a palsy handshake. He holds a patio door open to a balcony and ushers me out on to a wraparound walkway that leads to his home. Poitier’s reception room is congested with… Read full this story
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