Joanna Shimkus

Joanna Shimkus


Joanna Shimkus Poitier (born 30 October 1943) is a Canadian film actress. She is the widow of actor Sidney Poitier, and mother of actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier.

Shimkus was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Joseph Shimkus, a Lithuanian-Jew and Marie Petrie, a Catholic of Irish descent. Her father worked for the Royal Canadian Navy. She attended a convent school and was brought up in Montreal, Quebec. She went to Paris at age nineteen, where she worked as a fashion model and soon attracted the attention of movie people on the lookout for new talent.

She made her debut in 1964, in Jean Aurel's film De l'amour. She was then noticed by film director Robert Enrico, who selected her to appear in three of his films; Les aventuriers (1967), opposite Alain Delon and Lino Ventura, Tante Zita (1968) and Ho! (1968).

She appeared in Joseph Losey's film Boom! (1968), opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and The Lost Man (1969), opposite Sidney Poitier. Her film career continued until the early 1970s, including roles in L'Invitée (1969), The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971) and A Time for Loving (1972).

Shimkus married Sidney Poitier in 1976, and they have two daughters: Anika and Sydney Tamiia, who is also an actress. Shimkus has three grandchildren; two from Anika and one from Sydney Tamiia. Sidney Poitier died on 6 January 2022, aged 94.

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