This chapter details events in Sidney Poitier's life from 1957–1959, focusing on his films Porgy and Bess and The Defiant Ones. Poitier initially rejected the lead in Porgy and Bess because it presented blacks as dice-rolling, gin-swilling, razor-toting stereotypes. On the other hand, The Defiant Ones was a film that Poitier wanted—a taut, action-packed drama that challenged racial prejudice. He was later given an ultimatum by Samuel Goldwyn to either accept both parts or accept neither. In early December 1957, out of some combination of ambition and racial responsibility, Poitier signed a $75,000 contract for Porgy and Bess and a $15,000 contract for The Defiant Ones.
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