May 12, 1967
GOOD MORNING: Sidney Poitier launches his indie filmery via ABC following “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (Columbia) and admits his opus is NOT a “problem” pic. “I’ve been in 27 films,” he recalls, “and 17 have been so-called ‘problem’ pictures. Sure, I think being in them helped my career. But let’s face it — I’ve been in them now for 20 years! This one (untitled) will be a warm love story. There will be lots of opportunities for women of color to be in it. There is very little opportunity for women of color in this industry. I have four daughters and when one of them goes to the movie with a date — what can she see? Our film will show the goodness in men — there’s plenty of it. I don’t say we should ignore the realism around us, but there is also a world out there that is not all computerized. We’re human beings.” (2007 update: The 40th anniversary of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” will be celebrated later this year with Sony’s release of a DVD of the Stanley Kramer Collection in a box set, exec produced by Karen Sharpe Kramer. In addition to “Dinner,” she tells me four of his other award-winning films will be included in the box. Poitier declined an interview for the set. “I have nothing but respect for Stanley Kramer. But I’m out of show business. I am no longer in movies and no role would tempt me at this age,” Oscar-winner (2) Poitier graciously told me. He is writing another philosophically autobiographical book. (His “Measure of a Man” was a best-seller). He and wife Joanna Shimkus’ two daughters are in show biz: Sydney is Jungle Julia in “Grindhouse”; daughter Anika is working on her own film project.