- (Photo: Reuters)
Sidney Poitier has received a high honor in his native islands of the Bahamas this week after the nation announced the renaming of a bridge on Tuesday.
The Paradise Island Bridge will be rechristened to honor Poitier during next month's 40th anniversary celebration of Bahamian independence, said Prime Minister Perry Christie.
Christie added that the renaming the largest bridge in the Bahamas means Poitier's life story and diplomacy will be honored.
Poitier, who became the first black actor to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in 1963, was born in the U.S. but spent much of his childhood on Cat Island, located in the central Bahamas. The 88-year-old actor is perhaps best known for his role in "Lilies of the Field."
After starring in three more successful films in 1967, Poitier went on to direct a number of popular movies such as "A Piece of the Action," "Uptown Saturday Night," and "Let's Do It Again" with Bill Cosby, among many others.
The film star has been a Bahamian ambassador to Japan and UNESCO.
In 2002, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Poitier to receive an Honorary Award, explaining: "To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being."
Moreover, Poitier received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from President Barack Obama in 2009, among many other distinguished awards over his six-decade career.
The bridge re-christening in the Bahamas is not the only honor Poitier has received this week. On Saturday, the actor attended a star-studded annual gala for the Foundation of the California African American Museum (CAAM). There, he and acclaimed artist John Outterbridge received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The event recognized Poitier's accomplishments as a star on stage, as well as a film director, author, poet, and a Bahamian diplomat.
"We are thrilled to have the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism as a major sponsor of our biggest fundraiser of the year," Executive Director at CAAM Charmaine Jeffferson told The Bahamas Weekly. "Without generous partners like The Bahamas, such a magical night would not be possible."