Born In: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Joanna Shimkus is a Canadian-born actress, model and producer, best known for starring in movies, such as ‘Zita’ and ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’. Joanna began her career as a model in Montreal and soon moved to Paris to further boost her position in the fashion industry. It was during her modelling days in France that she grabbed the attention of the noted filmmaker Jean Aurel, who cast her in his film ‘All About Loving’ in 1964. After that movie became a hit, it did not take long for Joanna to establish herself as a supporting actress in French movies and TV series. Her next breakthrough came when she was cast as Annie in the successful movie 'Zita'. After that, she never had to look back and starred in acclaimed movies, such as 'The Lost Man', 'The Uninvited', and 'The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker'. However, despite a successful career, she decided to retire from the industry when she was at the peak of her career in order to focus on her other interests. She recently turned producer with the TV series ‘The Force’, in which she also appears in the role of ‘Margaret Winters’. She was also seen in a minor role in the short film ‘Yard Sale’.
Also Known As: Joanna Shimkus Poitier, Joanna Marie Shimkus
Spouse/Ex-: Sir Sidney Poitier (m. 1976)
children: Anika Poitier, Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Born Country: Canada
Ancestry: Lithuanian Canadian
Despite her early success, Joanna was not cast as a lead character and had to settle for minor and guest roles until 1968. In 1966, she starred in the comedy drama 'Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?' before being seen in the adventure film 'The Last Adventure' in 1967. Directed by Robert Enrico, 'The Last Adventure' was a hit at the box office and Joanna's portrayal of Laetitia Weiss was also appreciated by the critics. In 1968, she was cast in what was to become her highest grossing film: 'Zita'. The drama movie was directed by Robert Enrico and starred Joanna and Katina Paxinou in leading roles. The unique storyline of the movie impressed both the critics and the audiences alike. It was also nominated for several awards, including the Best Film award at the ‘Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’. Its success provided Joanna a much-needed boost to her acting career. Her other movies which released that year included 'Boom!’, wherein she played the character of Miss Black, and the crime drama 'Ho!', in which she essayed the role of Benedicte. In 1969, she starred in the Robert Alan Aurthur drama film 'The Lost Man' alongside her future husband Sidney Poitier. Released by ‘Universal Studios’, the movie received a lukewarm response in cinemas, but slowly began to gain popularity as the years went by. She also starred in Vittorio De Seta’s drama 'The Uninvited' in the same year.
Joanna Shimkus or Lady Poitier was born on October 30, 1943 in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. While her mother was a homemaker, her father served in the Royal Canadian Navy. Her father had Lithuanian-Jewish roots, while her mother was of Irish descent. Joanna spent her early years in her grandmother's farm in Halifax, where she was surrounded by animals. However, the family soon moved to Montreal when her mother started working. Joanna married Sir Sidney Poitier, a Bahamian-American actor, director and diplomat, in January 1976. Poitier became the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. The couple has two children: Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Anika Poitier. Their daughter Sydney is also an accomplished actress. Sidney Poitier died in January 2022.
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