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January 07, 2022


Sidney Poitier has died. In addition to being a great actor, he was a good guy. I say this based on my one encounter with him, a million years ago in the Sixties, when he was the most famous resident of Pleasantville, NY., where I attended high school. I lived in the nearby town of Armonk and was dating a girl who lived in Pleasantville. One night, late, I was walking home from my girlfriend's house -- this was roughly a five-mile walk -- and a car stopped next to me, and Sidney Poitier (!) asked me if I needed a ride. So I got in, and he drove me all the way to Armonk, which was out of his way. I wish I could recall what, if anything, we talked about, but I can't. I mainly recall thinking I'M SITTING NEXT TO SIDNEY POITIER!!!

I'm sure I thanked him for the ride. But I will again: Thank you, Mr. Poitier.   


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In the 1960s, my grandfather ran the projection equipment at the only theater in Shoshone, Idaho. Our family made the trip to visit my grandparents for their 50th anniversary in 1969. The theater wasn’t one to get first runs, so it was there in Shoshone that I was introduced to Sidney Poitier through his 1967 role as Mark Thackeray (Sir) in To Sir with Love.

He really made an impression upon me. I aspired to be a teacher from that point on, though I was never a natural, as he was in this and so many other roles.


Jim, I always thought "To Sir With Love" was a little overlooked and underappreciated in his overall body of work.

In fact, I saw both that movie and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" in recent months, for the first time in decades. It's nice to revisit stuff like that you haven't seen in a long time, to see if it holds up after so long.

Those two do.

I saw this at the theatre, when I was 12, with my mom who took me becauee she loved movie stars and with great interest and curiosity learning about their lives. She read Photoplay magazine all the time. Loved pictures and took a lot of pictures. The thing I remember most about seeing the movie was this.

Note. My mom also read the entire encyclopedia which I still have.

Bonus note. I walked to my girlfriend's house a lot. I remember the trek well. It was pretty much across the street.

It's too bad there weren't cell phones back then. You could have taken a selfie!
Most people know him for "To Sir With Love" but "Lilies Of The Field" is my favorite Sidney Potier movie.
He not only was a wonderful actor but a poised and elegant man too. RIP.

He was one of a rare breed. When watching him act I always felt that I was watching the real man and not just a role he was playing, if that makes any sense.

Cindy: We barely had electricity back then.

Agreed, Nurse Cindy. " Lillies " is the best. He built a Schapple.

Wow. Great story, Dave!

Like Cindy, my mother's favorite movie was Lilies of the Field. I remember watching it with her, and her quoting lines from it afterwards.

A tribute track for Dave's infamous ride with SP (Lots of cowbell)...

Dave should have invited Sidney in to meet his parents.

"Mom. Dad. Guess who's coming to dinner?"

Wonderful story, Dave. Sidney Poitier was born in Miami. I loved his voice, diction and phrasing.

Tribute Track #2

Amazing story, Dave!

pharmaross - a couple of terrific songs. I bought a Creedence guitar tab book of all their Cosmos Factory songs when I was in Jr. High. I still play some of them. I tried unsuccessfully to find a song I believe called 'Super Sidney' the band's name who does the song escapes me. Super Sidney had a great sax solo. So, I'll substitute this great 'sax' song instead.

Soundtrack version.

Among Poitier's overlooked work is a 3-hour-plus made-for-TV movie called Separate But Equal. He plays Thurgood Marshall, arguing Brown v Board of Education before the Supreme Court. Loved it. 5 stars.

God rest his soul. He is so very talented and we are grateful for his work. God bless him. But…Sidney Poitier didn’t know he was sitting next to..Dave Barry:)

Great story - we loved Sidney Poitier in all his movies and admired his conviction and courage. It is sweet and not at all surprising to learn of this simple act of kindness and decency. And how serendipitous that it was to Dave, who is able to share this memory with so many of us now through this Blog. God bless him and rest his soul, and may God also bless you Dave and all our fellow Blogsters.

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