One month ahead of the facility’s opening, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced today its 10,000-square-foot grand lobby will be named in honor of legendary actor and former Altadena resident Sidney Poitier.
“It is an incredible honor to name our grand lobby — the nucleus of the Academy Museum — in celebration of Sir Sidney Poitier, whose legacy of humanitarian efforts and groundbreaking artistry continues to inspire us all,”
Poitier, now 94, broke the color barrier for men at the Academy Awards in 1963 with his Oscar-winning lead performance in “Lilies of the Field.”
During that time Poitier rented a house in Altadena.
Poitier was part of a boon of African-American residents seeking diversity and equality that discovered the small bedroom community.
His film credits also include “The Defiant Ones,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “To Sir, with Love.”
Poitier also received an Academy Honorary Award in 2001, honoring his “remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1974 and is also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Sidney’s tremendous impact on the motion picture industry, and on audiences around the world, is inseparable from the story of his longstanding, collegial relationship with the Academy,” Poitier’s wife, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, said in a statement.
“Sidney has always taken great pride in the Academy’s recognition of his work. To be honored now as the namesake of the Academy Museum’s lobby, the place of access to everything that lies within, is almost like receiving a second Oscar for lifetime achievement.”
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open to the public on Sept. 30. The 300,000 square-foot museum spans two buildings, based largely in the former May Co. building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, but also extending into a spherical structure housing a major film theater and open-air terrace. The museum will feature 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, along with two theaters, an educational studio, a restaurant, and other amenities.