Julia Louis-Dreyfus shares story of meeting Sidney Poitier as a girl during the moon landing: 'What a gentleman'

·2-min read
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has shared a story of meeting Sidney Poitier as a young girl. (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has shared a story of meeting Sidney Poitier as a young girl. (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Since the news of actor Sidney Poitier's death at age 94 broke on Friday, stars like Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington have been paying tribute to the Hollywood icon and civil right figure. Now, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is sharing her own personal encounter with the Oscar winner.  

On Saturday, the Seinfeld and Veep star took to social media to share a photo of Poitier along with a note revealing that she'd met the Lilies of the Field star when she was just eight years old — and in Tunisia on the day of the 1969 moon landing.

Poitier handed out white roses to celebrate the moon landing in 1969, according to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Photo: REUTERS/David McNew)
Poitier handed out white roses to celebrate the moon landing in 1969, according to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Photo: REUTERS/David McNew)

"In the middle of the night, when I was 8 years old, I was given a white rose by the most elegant man I would ever meet," the actress, who turns 61 this week, wrote. 

Louis-Dreyfus went on to explain that her family was in Tunis due to her stepfather L. Thompson Bowles's work with the international health care organization Project HOPE, which she likened to the "'60s equivalent of Doctors Without Borders." 

Video: Sidney Poitier dies at 94

Though the date of the moon landing is July 20,1969, the time difference meant that it was the early hours of the next day in Tunisia. 

"At 2 in the morning, my mom woke me up and, in our nightgowns, we went to the lobby of the Tunis Hilton, where they had set up a little black and white television on which at 2:56 a.m., Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon," the Emmy winner wrote. "Afterwards, we headed outside to look up through the hot summer night at the never-again-the-same moon in the sky."

They were soon joined by a significant guest. 

"What could possibly top THAT?" Louis-Dreyus said of her memorable night. "Well, it was when we returned to the lobby and that handsome, elegant stranger gave to me and each woman present a white rose to commemorate this historic evening. My mom, in something of a swoon, explained to me that this was not just any man; this was Sydney [sic] Poitier."

At the time, Poitier — the first Black man to win an Oscar — would have been 42 and relatively fresh from a trio of standout roles in To Sir, With Love, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, all released in 1967.

"What a gesture. What a gentleman. Rest in peace," Louis-Dreyfus ended her tribute, which caught the attention of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner on Instagram.

"Chills. Such a beautiful story," read one comment.

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