6 of 19
In the 1967 classic, In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier plays investigator Virgil Tibbs, who is trying to solve a murder in the Deep South. The original script called for a white business owner to slap Sidney's character across the face. During filming, Sidney made a stunning suggestion—that his character slap the man back without hesitation.

Tiffany says she admires Sidney for his suggestion. "I loved the parts of the book where you had artistic control when no black actor was doing that, was revising scripts," Tiffany says.

"But was it artistic control, or was it just a decision that you had made?" Oprah asks.

"It was a decision I had made in the absence of artistic control," Sidney says. "I didn't have the power in those days—and I truly didn't—to say, 'Well, I won't do that unless you fix it.' I could only say, 'I won't do that as it stands.'"
PREVIOUS | NEXT

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD