Halle Berry penned a touching tribute to the late Sidney Poitier for a guest column on Variety. In the editorial essay, the actress shared how Poitier significantly impacted her life. This includes moments from her childhood and early career, as well as being an Oscar-winner in 2002 on the same night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was set to present Poitier an Honorary Award.
Berry won the award for Best Actress that evening. To this day, she is the only Black woman to take the category. She remembered not believing she would win and seeing Poitier seated with his family in the balcony, expecting his honor to be the night’s biggest event.
“As I concluded my rambling speech I looked up and saw dear Sidney, high in the balcony seemingly with a halo surrounding him, looking over me as a proud father would,” she wrote. “Our paths had crossed all those years earlier when I, wide-eyed and frizzy-headed, watched him in awe from my living-room sofa. Decades later in that arena, our lives became inextricably connected — he, the first Black man to garner a leading-man Oscar, and I, the first Black woman to accomplish the same in my category.”
She concluded the essay by reflecting on that moment.
“History will remember Sidney as a giant of the screen, a legendary actor and director, a performer whose enormous talents were eclipsed only by his kindness. I will recall him as my first mirror, and the true measure of a man — and I will forever see him as the angel in the balcony watching over all of us.”
Poitier died at the age of 94 on Jan. 6. In December 2021, it was announced that the beloved actor would have his life immortalized in the form of a Broadway play entitled Sidney. Adapted from his memoir, The Measure of A Man.
“There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now,” read a statement issued by the Poitier family. “We are so grateful he was able to spend his last day surrounded by his family and friends. To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder.”
Read Halle Berry’s full column here and watch her acceptance speech from the historical 2002 Oscar’s below.