Beverly Poitier-Henderson: Sidney Poitier is a Hollywood icon whose fame dates back to the golden age of cinema. As reported by Britannica, the Bahamian-American actor became an emblem of inclusivity when he became the first Black movie star. In 1964, Poitier became the first African American male actor to win an Academy Award for his role in “Lilies of the Field,” earning him Best Actor honors.
Due to his poise and grace in dealing with racism in Hollywood, one biographer referred to him as “Martin Luther King of the movies” (via Vanity Fair). Poitier was a trailblazing figure throughout his career, striving not only for recognition for his talents but also better representations of African Americans in film. His first role as Dr. Brooks in “No Way Out” stood as an exemplar against stereotypical images often depicted of Black Americans at that time (via Britannica).
Poitier is a Hollywood icon and an outstanding father to his six daughters: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Gina, Sydney and Anika. In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter his youngest daughters Sydney Tamiia and Anika shared memories of growing up: “We would put barrettes in his hair then call room service,” Sydney remembered. “And then when the delivery guy would come…he had to open the door with pink barrettes and lipstick on!”
Who Is Beverly Poitier-Henderson?
Beverly Poitier-Henderson is the eldest of Sidney Poitier’s six children. The Hollywood icon married Juanita Marie Hardy in 1950 but divorced 15 years later (via Amo Mama). Together they had four daughters: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri and Gina. Later remarried and had two more daughters Anika and Sydney with wife Joanna Shimkus via Oprah’s platform.
Beverly is not interested in acting like her award-winning father, but has dabbled in literature nonetheless, self-publishing a novel called “Nana” in 2001 according to Vidette Online. Her life experiences and those she’s encountered spurred her on to create this book; “the idea came from many places – from an elderly lady I knew at church to people from my family,” Beverly shared. “The inspiration came from many places – from little old ladies at church to people I’d met along the way,” she explained. “Nana” became her pet project when Beverly turned 18 months after birth.
Sidney Poitier is as supportive of his daughter’s career as she is of his. Beverly Poitier-Henderson creates customized jewelry from various rocks, gems, metals and clays that can be found on her site Kazuri West. The line she created called Beverly Poitier-Henderson was inspired by two influential men in her life: Sidney Poitier (her dad) and Christopher Henderson (high school sweetheart and husband).
Meet Joanna Shimkus, Sidney Poitier’s Wife!
Sidney Poitier’s career is steeped in Hollywood legend. Considered a pioneer of diversity within the industry, Poitier made history when he starred as a leading role in “No Way Out” in 1950 and went on to win an Oscar for his role in “Lilies of the Field” four years later, according to Variety.
But it was his decision to accept a role in “The Lost Man” that forever altered Poitier’s life. On set, he met Joanna Shimkus – another actor drawn to Poitier during production – who would eventually become his future wife. According to Closer Weekly, it is believed that Poitier met Joanna while filming “The Lost Man”.
Poitier wed Shimkus in 1976, over a decade after divorcing his first wife Juanita Hardy (via Women’s Health). Their union has endured for four decades and counting – an astonishing milestone by Hollywood standards.
Who is the woman behind the man? Meet Joanna Shimkus, Sidney Poitier’s wife.
Joanna Shimkus’ first creditable role was in 1964
Joanna Shimkus, born in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1944, started her acting career long before meeting future husband Sidney Poitier. According to IMDb, Shimkus had appeared in “All About Loving” (1964), “Zita” and “Boom” in 1968, followed by “A Time for Loving” in 1972. By 1972 it seemed she took a break from acting; her next appearance came two decades later in 2010 with “Yard Sale,” followed by “The Force” the following year (2018).
Shimkus’ break from acting may have coincided with the birth of their first daughter Anika in 1972 and second daughter Sydney two years later in 1973. Both daughters went on to work in the industry as adults; Anika directed “Black Irish” (on which Shimkus served as executive producer, per IMBd) while Sydney appeared in “Veronica Mars” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
Joanna Shimkus on Acting as a Career
Joanna Shimkus did not pursue acting as a career, unlike her daughters who followed in their parents’ footsteps. Prior to marrying Poitier, Shimkus had no intention of making acting her lifelong occupation; rather she chose it because it was “better than being in an office,” according to The St. Petersburg Times. As Shimkus said: “I’m not knocking acting at all – far from it! It can be an incredibly rewarding career – I just wish it were one for me!”
Shimkus has not said whether she still considers acting a mere means to an end, but her love for Poitier, star of “To Sir, With Love,” is undeniable. Poitier recently told Closer Weekly: “Over the years my wife has taught me the importance of expressing our affection on a daily basis.”
Here’s How Much Sidney Poitier Is Worth
Sidney Poitier is one of the great legends of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In five decades as an actor, Poitier achieved many firsts – including being the first Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor (Far Out).
Poitier’s early career included films such as “Cry, The Beloved Country,” which addressed the racial injustice of apartheid in South Africa (via PBS). Around mid-’50s, his focus shifted toward America with films like “Blackboard Jungle” and “The Defiant Ones,” for which he earned an Oscar nomination. But it was his role in 1963’s “Lilies of the Fields” that earned him his Academy Award for Best Actor; other films like 1967’s “In The Heat of the Night” and “Gues Who’s Coming for Dinner,” about inter-racial marriage, further solidified him as one of cinema’s greatest actors — and biggest stars — of that time.
Poitier eventually decided to pursue roles behind the camera. His directorial debut was “Buck and the Preacher,” in which he also co-starred with Harry Belafonte; later that same year, his film “Stir Crazy,” starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, became his first successful movie that grossed over $100 million at the Box Office (Indie Wire).
Sidney Poitier seems to have no regard for money
Poitier has extensive experience outside the movie business; he served on the board of directors for Disney and served as ambassador to Japan between 1997-2007. Furthermore, he’s written three books, including a New York Times Bestseller called Veterans Advantage. But how much has he made from all this work in both Hollywood and beyond? Surprisingly, it’s much less than you might expect!
Celebrity Net Worth estimates Poitier to be worth $25 million. But money has never seemed to matter for Poitier, as his life mission has been to empower and influence audiences rather than simply entertain them for profit. The films he’s starred in throughout his career reflect this philosophy, often confronting challenging topics like racism or other taboos.
Sidney Poitier wants to leave a lasting legacy for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, especially on the humanitarian front. “We have much work to do on ourselves as human family,” he said (via Veterans Advantage). “Not just the Black or Hispanic members of our family or the Europeans or Asians within it – we are all family.”
Discover the Truth Behind Sidney Poitier’s Notorious Daughter
Believe it or not, there are two Sidney Poitiers in Hollywood — the iconic actor best known for his Oscar-winning turn in Lilies of the Field and his youngest daughter Sydney Tamiia Poitier who has followed in their footsteps for almost 25 years. Poitier, whose mother is Canadian actress Joanna Shimkus, spoke about her passion for performing during a 2018 interview.
“Growing up around such creative people probably instilled me with an appreciation for storytelling at a young age. Although I wasn’t allowed to act professionally until after college, I continued performing in school plays and other productions until starting my professional acting career soon after” (via Mandy).
Poitier earned her acting degree at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and went on to star in Free of Eden (1998), alongside Phylicia Rashad and her father (via IMDb).
Poitier’s daughter may be best known for her legs.
“The first week we had rehearsals,” Poitier’s younger self recalled to Jet magazine upon Free of Eden’s completion in 1999. “I kept cracking up. It was so hard for me to act this character instead of my dad; after a couple days it became normal – but at first I was giggling uncontrollably.” Later that year she appeared in both True Crime with Clint Eastwood and Noah’s Ark on television miniseries with Mary Steenburgen.
Sydney Poitier quickly achieved success as the lead in UPN’s Abby, as well as recurring roles on popular shows such as Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, Knight Rider and Chicago P.D. She can currently be seen co-starring with Jerry O’Connell on Bravo’s crime comedy Carter as Detective Sam Shaw (via IMDb).
Her most renowned role may always be Jungle Julia, the snarky, long-legged DJ in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof — a role seemingly tailored for Poitier after auditioning for several of his films including Kill Bill and an episode of CSI that she had auditioned for. According to BlackFilm, Poitier “had him specifically in mind” when writing Jungle Julia; after seeing some footage from those auditions (via BlackFilm), we can only hope we’ll see her again one more of this famed director’s feature films before his retirement!