who passed away at 94 in January — was already at death’s door.“I was not expected to live,” says Poitier in the new documentary “Sidney,” which premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday. “I was born two months premature.”The film traces Poitier’s remarkable journey from his father tucking him into a shoebox as a sickly infant to growing into a screen icon and the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar, with “Lilies of the Field” in 1964.“I remember thinking, ‘If he could do that, I wonder what I can do,’ ” says Oprah Winfrey, who produced the documentary, about how Poitier’s groundbreaking career inspired her.“It was the first time I’d seen a black man assert his power,” says Halle Berry — who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar in 2002 — of Poitier’s impact on her. “I wanted to marry Sidney Poitier!”“He had big shoulders,” adds Denzel Washington, who became the second black man to win a Best Actor Oscar in 2008. “He was given big shoulders.
But he had to carry a lot of weight.”Although he was born in Miami, Poitier grew up in Cat Island, Bahamas, as the child of tomato farmers. “The world I knew was quite simple,” he says in the documentary. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as electricity or that water could come into the house through a pipe.”He also was raised without truly understanding the concept of racism. “I never thought of what I looked like,” he says. “I didn’t know what a n – – – – r was.”That all changed, though, when he was sent to Miami at 15 to be with his brother’s family. “From the time I got off the boat, America began to say to me, ‘You’re not who you think you are,’ ” he says.Read more on nypost.com