Whoopi, Lenny, Viola, more react to the death of Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier, the first Black performer to win an Oscar for best actor, passed away on Jan. 6. He was 94. Sidney, who was beloved in the entertainment world and beyond, leaves behind one of the more impressive legacies. In addition to his Oscar, Sidney received a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a knighthood. Following his death, many in Hollywood publicly honored Sidney on social media. Click through to see who’s paying tribute to the late great Sidney Poitier…

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“If you wanted the sky i would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high.. To Sir… with Love Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars. My condolences to his family and to all of us as well” –Whoopi Goldberg

“Sir #SidneyPoitier, your brilliant light will never dim. The doors you opened and paths you created will continue to make way for those with a dream. You showed the world that with vision and grace, all is possible. Your excellence will always be the benchmark. Rest in divine peace, Bahamian King. My love and condolences go out to your beautiful family. #SidneyPoitier” –Lenny Kravitz

“This is a big one. No words can describe how your work radically shifted my life. The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!! It was an honor for my husband and I to share lunch with you at Spagos. You told us, “If your dreams do not scare you, they’re not big enough”! I put this quote on my daughter’s wall. Rest well Mr. Poitier. Thank you! Thank you for leaving a legacy. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” –Viola Davis

“Sidney Poitier. An absolute legend. One of the greats.” —Joseph Gordon-Levitt

“Farewell Mr. Poitier. One cherished moment was hitting golf balls with you on the driving range at the club. So many more in admiration of you and your craft as an actor. God Bless” –Catherine Zeta-Jones 

“I will never forget the occasion where I met Mr. Poitier. I had just won an award and he and Helen Mirren were walking through the kitchen to the stage to present. When I have an overload of adrenaline it has an adverse affect. I can’t bend my knees. So, there I am with my heels and an award in my hands, shell shocked and sweaty, GLARING at the two of them. I was searching for the one word to say but couldn’t remember any. I must’ve been a pitiful sight because he stopped with the biggest smile and congratulated me. I finally blurted out I love you… both. He told me he expected great things from me. There’s something about hearing those words from a pioneer that changes you! Thank you, Mr. Poitier!! I’ve been riding high ever since!!” –Octavia Spencer

“Around this time last year Cicely Tyson was releasing her book and promoting it. I had no idea she would pass away shortly thereafter. Now, to wake up this morning to a call that Sidney Poitier has passed away… all I can tell you is that my heart broke in another place. The grace and class that this man has shown throughout his entire life, the example he set for me, not only as a black man but as a human being will never be forgotten. There is no man in this business who has been more of a North Star for me than Sidney Poitier. I’ll never forget inviting him and Cicely to fly to South Africa with me. Selfishly, I wanted to hold them both captive for the hours long trip as I literally sat at their feet and listened to their wisdom and experiences. It was life changing. All I can say is thank you for your life, thank you for your example, and thank you for your incredible gift. But most of all, thank you for being willing to share YOU to make us all better.” –Tyler Perry

“We lost a giant today!! Sending my Love and Prayers to his beautiful family!!” –Kelly Rowland

“Rest easy King 👑 #sidneypoitier . Thank you for kicking down the doors. Thank you will never be enough for your blood sweat tears and determination. REST IN HEAVENLY PEACE!!! We will tell the generations to come about your legacy!!! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🕊” –Taraji P Henson

“I N F L U E N C E R #sidneypoitier Oh Sidney Poitier, You were a defiant one. You stood up and showed up and dazzled us with your talent and heart and mind and action and you made this world better.” –Jamie Lee Curtis

“RIP #SidneyPoitier A consistent and extraordinary example of talent, grace and elegance.” –Richard Marx

“What a life. What a great man. #ripsidneypoitier” –Jane Lynch

“#SidneyPoitier’s portrayal in “To Sir, with love” literally changed me. Always love watching all of his work on @tcm. This says it all: “Over his career, Poitier was repeatedly the FIRST.”[email protected]… #RipSidneyPoitier TY for EVERYTHING you gave us. Condolences to his family.” –Rosie Perez

“RIP to a true gentlemen, legend, and the first African-American Academy Award winner for Best Actor Sidney Poitier.” –Magic Johnson

“Many of us owe a debt to Sidney Poitier that we can never repay. He single-handedly changed the face of the Leading Man. I had the honor to thank him in person and, in his kindness and grace, he said, “You’re a leading man, Lou, because you’re a good actor.” #RIPSidneyPoitier” –Lou Diamond Phillips

“Well done sir….. #ripsidneypoitier 🕊🙏🏽💫 #ledgend sending prayers to family & loved ones ❤️” –Niecy Nash

“So sad to read of the passing of Sidney Poitier. Thank you for gracing us with your brilliance. RIP” –Marlee Matlin

“I once had the honor to shake Sidney Poitier’s hand. May he Rest in Power knowing he was loved and trailblazer in our industry who lit up the screen with his talent.” –Cary Elwes

“RIP Sidney Poitier, 94. When he answered an ad for actors, as an illiterate young man, the theatre owner sneered: ‘Go be a dishwasher.’ Sidney already was a dishwasher. Stung by the jibe, he vowed to prove him wrong. He became the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar.” –Piers Morgan

“RIP Sidney Poitier. One of the greatest actors of all time. His “In The Heat Of The Night” will always be on my top 10 film list. His line, “They call me Mr. Tibbs!” heralded in Black Power in a definitive, permanent way. It sends a thrill through my bones every time I see it.” –Stevie Van Zandt

“Sidney Poitier – best of the best RIP” –Mia Farrow

“Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Oscar, has died at the age of 94. The star of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “Lilies of the Field,” for which he won Best Actor, was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he opened the very doors of Hollywood.” –George Takei

“#SidneyPoitier, your last sunset with us is the dawn of many generations rising in the path of light you blazed. We will always hold you in our hearts and forever speak your name.” –Debbie Allen

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