Los Angeles, Jan 8  Former US President Barack Obama led the legion of celebrities who showered tributes on Sidney Poitier who passed away at the age of 94 on Friday.

“Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomised dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors,” Obama wrote on Instagram, reports ‘Variety’.

Referencing one of Poitier’s most memorable films, ‘To Sir, With Love’, Whoopi Goldberg tweeted: “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.”

Denzel Washington, who was the second Black man after Poitier to get an Oscar for Best Actor, said in a statement: “It was a privilege to call Sidney Poitier my friend. He was a gentle man and opened doors for all of us that had been closed for years. God bless him and his family.”

Jamaican-American pop star, actor and civil liberties activist Harry Belafonte, who was close to the late actor, said: “For over 80 years, Sidney and I laughed, cried and made as much mischief as we could. He was truly my brother and partner in trying to make this world a little better. He certainly made mine a whole lot better.”

Questlove, in his tribute, called Poitier “King Sidney” and said: “We all have our Poitier era. Growing up in the ’70s I’d have to say that maybe ‘Uptown Saturday Night’ was the first movie I ever watched. (The trilogy of Uptown/Again/Piece of was a staple/steady diet in every ’70s household).

“You already know I can spew paragraphs of what his activism represented, especially at a time his accolades were happening during the civil rights era — but man, this is more of a personal reflection because of the bonding his ’70s movies did for my family and I. Rest in peace. And thank you.”

And in a heartfelt tribute, actor, director and screenwriter Tyler Perry wrote on Instagram: “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.”

He concluded by saying: “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.”

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