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Legends Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte Turn 90 as They Approach 7 Decades of Friendship by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Sidney Poitier, born on February 20th, and Harry Belafonte born on March 1st, both in 1927, are turning 90 years old as they approach almost 70 years of friendship. In the late 1940s, both in New York City, their fate would meet at the American Negro Theatre, and the rest is history. These two handsome men would bestow the world with their extraordinary talents, charm, courage, commitment, righteousness, and integrity; there will never be enough praise and thank yous to sing their song. Happy Birthday!

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Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, March On Washington, 1963, LIFE Magazine.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
—Poet laureate Bob Dylan, 1973
The recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature
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Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, March On Washington, 1963, LIFE Magazine.

BRIEF BIOS:
Sir Sidney Poitier, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE), was born on February 20, 1927 in Miami, Florida while his Bahamian parents were visiting. His birth was two months premature and he was not expected to survive, but his parents remained in Miami for three months to nurse him to health. Because of his birth in the United States, he automatically received American citizenship. Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, then a British Crown colony. At the age of 15, he was sent to Miami to live with his brother, and at 16, he moved to New York City where he held a string of jobs including a dishwasher; soon a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theatre in 1947. Poitier is an actor, film director, author, and diplomat. In 1964, he became the first Bahamian and first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in the 1963 film Lilies of the Field, his Oscar win was announced and presented to him by Italian-American actress Anne Bancroft, who won an Academy Award just the year before in 1963 for Best Actress in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker; it was an historical moment live on stage as he accepted. The significance of these achievements was bolstered in 1967, when he starred in three successful films, all of which dealt with issues involving race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with co-stars Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, featuring Hepburn’s niece Katharine Houghton, making him the top box-office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of classic Hollywood cinema, ranking 22nd on the list of 25. Poitier has directed a number of films, including A Piece of the Action, Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again, with Bill Cosby; Stir Crazy, starring Richard Pryor, and Gene Wilder; and Ghost Dad, also with Cosby. In 2002, thirty-eight years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award, in recognition of his “remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being”. From 1997 to 2007, he served as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. In 2016, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding lifetime achievement in film.
Harry Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. in Harlem, New York on March 1, 1927. He is of Jamaican descent; his mother was born in Jamaica, the child of a Scottish white mother and a black father. His father also was born in Jamaica from Martinique, the child of a black mother and Dutch Jewish father of Sephardi origins. Belafonte is a singer, songwriter, actor, author, and social activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso in 1956 is the first million selling LP by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O”. He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. In 1949, he took classes in acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German director Erwin Piscator alongside Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, Bea Arthur, and Sidney Poitier, while performing with the American Negro Theatre. He subsequently received a Tony Award for his participation in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac in 1953. Shortly after he starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger’s hit musical Carmen Jones in 1954, Island in the Sun in 1957 and Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow in 1959. Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and one of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s confidants. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the anti-apartheid movement and USA for Africa. Since 1987 he has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Harry Belafonte now acts as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues. Belafonte has won three Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In 1989 he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. On November 8, 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards presented to him by Sidney Poitier. In 2014, along with his daughter Gina Belafonte, he founded the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a non-profit social justice organization that utilizes the power of culture and celebrity in partnership with activism. In March 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Through the years he has been a vocal critic of the US policies and presidents, but hope was gained in 2016 becoming a surrogate for Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. In November 2016, he was honored as a Library Lion at the Library Lions gala. In February 2017, The New York Public Library (NYPL) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Library has decided to name the branch after the Harlem born icon, the Harry Belafonte –115th Street Library.
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Sammy Davis, Jr. , Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier, LIFE Magazine 1966.

Civil and Social Activism Notes: Sidney Poitier’s films dealt with issues involving race and race relations. He portrayed groundbreaking and society changing characters through his powerful moments on the big screen. While for seven decades Harry Belafonte has consistently dedicated his life to political and humanitarian causes. Belafonte’s political beliefs were greatly inspired by the singer, actor, and Socialist Paul Robeson, who mentored him. Belafonte financed the 1961 Freedom Rides and supported voter registration drives. During the 1963 Birmingham Campaign he bailed King out of Birmingham City Jail and raised thousands of dollars to release other civil rights protesters. He helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington. Let history show, if it was not for Mr. Belafonte, Dr. King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his “I Have A Dream” speech may not have ever been televised, nor be as we know it today. It was Mr. Belafonte who convinced studio executives in Hollywood to stop filming for a day so Hollywood celebrities could attend the rally in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. He brought together countless friends and colleagues; Marlon Brando, Diahann Carroll, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Garner, James Baldwin, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, and more who flew to join Mahalia Jackson and others in D.C.; thus complete media coverage was given. During the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964 Belafonte bankrolled the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, flying to Mississippi that August with Sidney Poitier and $60,000 in cash and entertaining crowds in Greenwood. Belafonte’s countless work includes the anti-apartheid movement, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Peace Corps, Amnesty International, assisted many African countries, HIV/AIDS, ACLU, mass incarceration, now known as The New Jim Crow, and too many to list here. Another article will be dedicated solely to Mr. Belefonte’s causes and movements. Last year alone, 2016, Belafonte dedicated his time and knowledge as a surrogate for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, as he worked on his Sankofa.org’s Many Rivers to Cross Festival along with his daughter Gina Belafonte. Thank you Mr. B.
Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Charlton Heston, March On Washington, 1963, LIFE Magazine.

Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Charlton Heston, Dr. King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, LIFE Magazine.

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Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte (Bernard Lee in center), Civil Rights Rally, New York, May 1, 1960, Photograph by Al Fenn for LIFE Magazine.

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Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, Civil Rights Event, Statue of Liberty, New York, May 1, 1960, Photography by Al Fenn for LIFE Magazine.

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Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Asa Philip Randolph, and Sidney Poitier, 1960 (two not known in first photo), Getty.

The NAACP Freedom Spectacular, a nationwide closed-circuit TV broadcast on May 14, 1964 in NY, Getty. Duvet Copy

Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, The NAACP Freedom Spectacular, a nationwide closed-circuit TV broadcast on May 14, 1964 in New York, Getty.

 

“Thank you, always say thank you; it’s the greatest gift you can give someone; because thank you is what you say to God.” —Dr. Maya Angelou

Harry Belafonte accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from actor Sidney Poitier, Hollywood, CA, November 8, 2014. Photograph Getty Images.

Harry Belafonte accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from actor Sidney Poitier, Hollywood, CA, November 8, 2014. Photograph Getty Images.

Harry Belafonte accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from actor Sidney Poitier, Hollywood, CA, November 8, 2014. Photograph Getty Images.

Harry Belafonte accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from actor Sidney Poitier, Hollywood, CA, November 8, 2014. Photograph Getty Images.

Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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Bio Source: Wikipedia
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One comment on “Legends Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte Turn 90 as They Approach 7 Decades of Friendship by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

  1. Pingback: HARRY BELAFONTE: A Champion of Civil, Social & Humanitarian Rights, Equality, and Democratic Socialism for Seven Decades by Lisa Pacino | Under The Duvet Productions

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2017 by in activism, After Party, Awards, Backstage, Bernie Sanders, Black Broadway, Black History, Black Hollywood, Black Tie Events, Books, Broadway, Brooklyn, Canon, Canon Camera, Celebrities, Celebrity Photojournalist, Civil Rights, Emmy Awards, Film Premiers, Galas & Fundraisers, Grammy Awards, History, Journalist, Lisa Pacino, Literature, Literature & Lectures, Music, New York, News & Civil Rights, Photography, Red Carpet, Theatre, Theatre (Broadway & Off-Broadway), Tony Awards, Uncategorized, Under The Duvet Productions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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