This must be Sidney Poitier day at TCM. One fantastic movie after another, starting with a film that hits my top ten of all time: A Patch of Blue. But here, I found an interview with him from just this February, and it’s wonderful. You want to write, you want to do anything in life, this is a story of how not to give up—and how to have integrity while doing it, too.
I hit the age of 15 not being afraid. I was on my own in New York City at the age of 15. I was respectful to people. As my father explained to me, to elders you say “sir” if it is a man. To elders you say “ma’am” if it is a woman. You respect older people. I learned from him a certain way of behavior. But what I learned was not in terms of something I got out of a book. What I learned was an internal connectedness to life, in the family, in the small community where we lived, how people treated each other, particularly how my father treated his friends and my mother, you see. So I came at 15 to Miami, Florida with a sense of that humanity. That is why I am sitting in this chair now. All of what I feel about life, I had to find a way in my work to be faithful to it, to be respectful of it. I couldn’t and still can’t play a scene, I cannot play a scene that I don’t find the texture of humanity in the material. I can’t.