While many Americans claim the handsome film star as their own, Sidney Poitier grew up in the Bahamas and retained dual citizenship while living and working in the United States. His parents were farmers and Poitier received American citizenship because he was born in Miami while his parents were there to sell their produce. Poitier was sent to live with family in Miami when he was still a teenager and worked for many years as a dishwasher and part-time actor until receiving his first big break in Blackboard Jungle (1955). By 1967, he’d become Hollywood’s biggest box-office draw and was the first person of African descent to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1958. He became the Bahamian ambassador to Japan in 1997 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barrack Obama in 2009.