Denzel Washington remembers his friend and mentor Sidney Poitier

Denzel Washington looks back on his friendship with Sidney Poitier, who also served as a mentor, and remembers a special shared moment with him at the 2002 Oscars, when Washington became only the second Black man to win Best Actor since Poitier in 1964.

Video Transcript


KEVIN POLOWY: We lost a true titan and pioneer last week with the passing of Sidney Poitier, who you shared that unforgettable moment with at the Oscars 20 years ago this year. Can you share with us what he meant to you?

DENZEL WASHINGTON: Friend, mentor, confidante, example, you know, father figure, gentleman, buddy. All of the above, you know. We talked about everything, just he and I.

KEVIN POLOWY: "Variety" just called them the most important actor in American history. I mean, how do you-- how do you look at his legacy that he's left in the craft?

DENZEL WASHINGTON: That's going to take time. I think of it more now just as I knew him, as the guy's house I would stop by and we'd sit around and-- just to see him, like, in pajamas and stuff, you know. I got to know him like that, you know. Like in his house clothes and walking around and, you know. To hear him curse, I was like, oh woah, Mr. Tibbs. [LAUGHING] You know.

Those are the things you remember. You know, it's like, man, this is-- I'm in Sidney Poitier's living room.

KEVIN POLOWY: That Oscars moment was 20 years ago this March. And that-- in general, that was such an unforgettable night. I mean, how do look back at that night now, you know, making history alongside Halle Berry?

DENZEL WASHINGTON: I haven't thought about it, actually. I could see him. That's what I see. When you mention it and I think about it, I could see him up in the whatever they call those seats on the side. And he stood up, and we just looked at each other. And you know, like I said, that night was shared with the world. But I've shared many days just he and that I cherish just as much.

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