“We Are Plain People”: Sidney Poitier

The great Sidney Poitier died this month.

Here he is in one of his most masterful performances as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

The play was originally directed on Broadway by Lloyd Richards, the first Black director on the Broadway stage. In their lean days as struggling actors, Richards and Poitier would pool their money to buy and split a hot dog. They promised each other that if one got an opportunity, they’d bring the other along. When Poitier got Hansberry’s script, he insisted that Lloyd direct the play. Lloyd worked intensely with Hansberry to shape the play and then cast and directed the play perfectly. The stage cast, many of whom were also in the film– and who you can see in this clip from the film–included Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Claudia McNeil, and John Fiedler.

Thanks to YouTuber The aesthetic of the Image: [world] cinema clips

2 thoughts on ““We Are Plain People”: Sidney Poitier

  1. YOU PICKED SIDNEY’S BEST SCENE IN MY OPINION, I FELT MY EMOTIONS BEING BROUGHT TO THE SURFACE THE MOMENT HE BEGAN TO SPEAK. I MET HIM AT THE TIME HE WAS SIGNING HIS BOOK; IN MACY’S – 34TH STREET. IT HAD TO BE AFTER 1997, BECAUSE I GAVE HIM AN ACTORS RESUME THAT I KNEW FROM THE MANHATTAN CHURCH THEATRE GROUP THAT I HAD JOINED.

    • It’s really hard not to be affected by that scene. And Ruby Dee and Diana Sands faces when they realize Walter is finally going to support Beneatha’s dream of being a doctor is just great too.

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