Sidney Poitier Praises African Talent: "Some of the Best Actors Function in Africa"

The Oscar winner accepts a leadership award over the weekend in Beverly Hills.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation)

Sidney Poitier made a rare public appearance Saturday night in Beverly Hills, stepping out to accept the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Foundation International Leadership Award at the couple's sixth annual Christmas gala and fundraiser.

The event, held in one of Montage Beverly Hills' ballrooms and hosted by former E! News host Terrence J (who departed the network last week to pursue an acting and producing career full-time), proved to be an intimate yet extravagant affair featuring a variety of performances including a Gilligan's Island acting troupe, a dance ditty from a handful of The Rockettes and a musical segment featuring performers from a Hollywood entertainment company singing and dancing their way through a number from the Tony Award-winning musical The Lion King

Bobby Sherman, a one-time heartthrob whose biggest hits include "Together Again," "Seattle," "Julie, Do Ya Love Me?" and "Cried Like a Baby," even performed for the crowd while his wife Brigitte looked on adoringly. The 88-year-old Poitier clapped along during the live performances while seated next to his wife, Joanna, even joking to The Hollywood Reporter that she hadn't told him he was the night's sole honoree.

"My wife sneaks things on me quite frequently," he says. "I will tell you this: I had a remarkable evening here tonight."

The Oscar-winning legend praised the foundation — a Ghana-based nonprofit that provides education, tutoring, music and art lessons to young children — and thanked the Shermans for delivering a "true experience." 

"I have not seen such warmth since I was privileged to make a movie," Poitier recalled before opening up about his time in Africa, where he made a string of films during his career. "I want to tell you that some of the best actors also function in Africa."


Sidney Poitier poses with wife Joanna at the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation's 6th Annual Christmas Gala and Fundraiser at Montage Beverly Hills on Dec. 19. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for The Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation)


Event host Terrence J poses with Sidney Poitier at the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation's 6th annual Christmas Gala and Fundraiser at Montage Beverly Hills on Dec. 19. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation)

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