Amen to Sidney Poitier

Amen to Sidney Poitier


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2022

The Hollywood actor, who died today aged 94, had his musical moments.


  • henry williams says:

    great actor

  • Derek H says:

    A fine actor and a very special man. Reportedly, he said –

    “If I’m remembered for having done a few good things and if my presence here has sparked some good energies, that’s plenty”.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    I saw him referred to as “Sir” on one tv news. He was an American citizen so if he had been knighted it would have only been honorary like Placido Domingo so unable to use the title just the letters after his name.

  • V.Lind says:

    A true gentleman a well as a wonderful actor. I still remember falling in love with him when I was very young in To Sir, With Love, and in a film I only ever saw once, also when very young, A Patch of Blue.

    It would be some time before I saw his work again, but I especially remember Lilies of the Field on TV one night and In the Heat of the Night. I only recently saw the Porgy and Bess on a streaming service.

    He always had such dignity and grace, and of course that wonderful voice — and he was so good-looking, even into old age.

    He was a favourite actor of my youth and young adulthood, and I regret that I missed so much of his later work. But his passing, after a life well-lived, will trigger a happy weekend of watching and rewatching, perhaps starting with an early film that I saw long ago on TV, Cry, the Beloved Country, which my school, in its wisdom, had as a set book that became one I re-read many times for its lyrical writing and its potent message.

    If I always knew black lives mattered, it was hugely down to Sidney Poitier. In role after role that had nothing to do with thuggishness and rarely if ever with confrontational politics, yet usually addressed race, he put that message across in a way that sadly does not seem to resonate. The world is a slightly diminished place by his passing.

    Flights of angels, MR. Poitier.

  • Fenhalls says:

    From IMDB:

    ‘Sidney Poitier’s singing in “Amen” was dubbed by Jester Hairston, who also composed the song. Hairston is also known for playing Rolly on Sherman Hemsley’s television sitcom Amen (1986)’

  • Musician says:

    Sidney Poitier did not do his own singing in these films. He was dubbed by Jester Hairston (who wrote “Amen”) in Lilies of the Field and by Robert McFerrin in Porgy and Bess.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The absolute classiest of all actors working in the USA. No ifs or buts. Talent in spades.

  • Ira says:

    Actually, Mr. Poitier said himself he was tone deaf and couldn’t sing. I believe Jester Hairstone sang in AMen (he also arranged the piece) & Robert Mc Ferrin (the great baritone who was the first black male singer at the Met and is father to Bobbye McFerrin) sang in Porgy & Bess!

  • Joel Kemelhor says:

    Sidney Poitier’s singing in the movie PORGY AND BESS was dubbed by Robert McFerrin, a fine baritone whose son was the popular performer Bobby McFerrin.