Joanna Shimkus – Truth About Late Sidney Poitier’s Wife

Joanna Shimkus is a Canadian film actress, best known as the late actor Sidney Poitier’s wife. She is most popular for her works in The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Zita (1968) and The Uninvited (1969).

Joanna was married to Sidney for 46 years, till the death of the actor. Before that, the couple had dated for over five years. They began dating in 1968 while working together on Robert Alan Arthur’s film The Lost Man. The couple has maintained privacy in their personal lives.

How Old is Joanna Shimkus?

Joanna Marie Shimkus was born on October 30, 1943, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is 79 years old as of 2022. Considering her date of birth, her star sign seems to be Scorpio. She grew up in Montreal, a metropolitan area in Quebec, Canada.

Her Parents

Shimkus was born to a military family. Her father, Joseph Shimkus, was a navy officer with the Royal Canadian Navy. However, she was never raised with the belief that she has to do what her parents have done.

Her mother, Marie Petrie and her father, both supported her in whatever profession she chose. She had immense support from her parents even when she said about becoming an actress.

Her Education

Talking about her education, the actress attended a convent school. However, not much is known besides this fact. Although she is a celebrity, she has managed to keep her personal life away from the limelight.

Joanna Shimkus In her young age
Source: Instagram @anika.poitier

Joanna Shimkus Made Her Acting Debut in 1964

Joanna chose acting for her career. Her first role big screen role was in a movie named De l’amour in 1964. However, she had also done a short film, Montparnasse-Levallois by Jean-Luc Godard in 1963.

Her first movie led many film directors to recognize her talent. Subsequently, a renowned director, Robert Enrico loved her acting and offered her roles in three of his movies simultaneously.

Starting in 1963, Joanna actively pursued acting until 1972. Les aventuriers, Ho!, Boom!, The Lost Man, The Virgin, The Gypsy, A Time for Loving, and The Marriage of -a Young Stockbroker are some of the movies she worked on. She has also worked with her husband. Joanna worked with her husband, Sidney Poitier, on The Lost Man, which was released in 1969.

She was having a great impact on the movie industry, but due to unknown reasons, she decided to leave the industry in 1972. Only after nearly four decades, we would see the actress again. She returned to the entertainment industry in 2010. Then, she left for good in 2018.

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Joanna Shimkus is Also an Interior Designer

During her time away from acting, Shimkus started her career as an interior designer and sculptor. Although she hasn’t revealed her job details, she did renovate her own house in Beverly Hills.

She designed the house with the goal of making it both beautiful and comfortable. She used the antique pieces which she and her husband collected during their travels while decorating her house. Likewise, she feels that the home in Beverly Hills reflects their passion for the world, from its rugs to its artwork.

Joanna Shimkus giving a smile
Source: Famous Birthdays


While her children were young, Joanna studied sculpture with Artis Lane. She sold her own sculptures of Hounsou and used many of her creations as decorations in her place. She also includes her teacher’s work, the sculpture of actor Djimon Hounsou, in her living room.

Joanna Shimkus Was Married to Sidney Poitier For Over Four Decades

In January 1976, Joanna tied the knot with American-Bahamian actor Sidney Poiter. She was the actor’s second wife. Before her, Sidney was married to a woman named Juanita Hardy. The couple was married for 15 years and had four daughters together.

About her relationship, Joanna said, “I grew up in Canada, and I never really had any kind of prejudice- it’s unlike America. I just never had those feelings. And we’ve never had a problem, actually. It could be that we lead a very quiet life. It could be that’s just the way it is; I don’t really know. But I never really did see him as a black man. I mean, I know he is Black, but I just saw him as a man, and he was just a wonderful person, an amazing human being.”

She added, “The thing that attracted me to him the most, I think, is his integrity and his honesty, and his loyalty to his family. He’s just an amazing human being. He’s just a good, good, good person. And he’s cute too, yes! And he was especially gorgeous then. He still is too now, but he was very, very attractive then.”

Her Husband Died Of Heart Failure

The couple shared over four decades of romance until Sidney Poitier died at the age of 94. Sidney Poitier took his last breath at his own home in California on the evening of January 6, 2022. According to the death certificate, heart failure was the cause of death, which also indicates that he was an Alzheimer’s patient.

Her daughter Sydney Poitier shared heartfelt words after his death via her Instagram under the username @sydneypoitierheartsong, where she wrote, “My grief is because I lost my dad, but it is also because the world lost so much goodness. I will miss you more than words can express, dad.” She added “I will feel you in the warmth of the sun on my back, I will hear you in the wind in the trees, and I will look for you among the stars, where you will surely be. I love you.”

Joanna Shimkus's daughter Sydney Tamiia hugging her father Sidney Poitier
Source: Instagram @sydneypoitierheartsong


Her elder daughter Anika wrote an essay which was published by The Hollywood Reporter, which mentioned that she will miss the moments she spent with her dearest dad.

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Both Her Daughter Are Actress

Anika Poitier (born February 29, 1972), the elder daughter of the couple, loved the arts from an early age, which is why she studied them at The American University of Paris. She entered the industry with her debut movie, Swordfish. The Devil Cats is the film in which she starred as well as directed and wrote the story. Some of her movies are Black Irish, Sidney, Yard Sale, and Myth America. She is married to actor Leandro Pari Dimoriva and has two children with him.

Sydney Tamiia Poitier (November 15, 1973), the youngest daughter of the family, also followed in her parent’s footsteps and chose acting as her career. She started her career in acting in 1998. First Years, Abby, Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Knight Rider, Private Practice, and Carter are some of the movie series she has worked on.

She is now living with her husband, Dorian Heartsong, whom she married in 2012, and her daughter, A’Zalia Delancey Coffey.

Joanna Shimkus Net Worth

As of 2022, Joanna Shimkus has an estimated net worth of around $4 million. On the other hand, her late husband, Sidney Poitier, had a net worth of $20 million. The couple made most of their fortune from the entertainment industry.

Sidney also owned a home in Beverly Hills, California. As of now, the house is worth $10 million.

Body Measurements

Joanna stands 1.72 meters tall and weighs approximately 62 kg.

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