Worked With:

Kelly Blatz


Alex O'Loughlin


Kate Walsh


Deanna Russo


Kurt Russell


Ellen Pompeo


Aidan Quinn


Kristen Bell


Michael Welch


Julie Delpy

Sydney Tamiia Poitier Biography




Birth Name: Sydney Tamiia Poitier


Born on Nov. 15, 1973, Poitier was raised in Los Angeles, CA, the youngest of six girls that included older sister Anika and four half-sisters. Her mother was actress Joanna Shimkus and her father the Bahamian-born screen legend Sidney Poitier. Poitier had a relatively normal childhood, but waited to fully embrace her interest in professional acting until she applied to college. Poitier opted to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to study drama, where the mention of her name at the department's orientation had classmates humorously thinking her father had enrolled. At NYU, Poitier performed in various stage productions, including a memorable production of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," in which she played the brutalized daughter Lavinia. Following graduation, Poitier continued honing her craft at the Stella Adler Conservatory. But by the late 1990s, Poitier found herself struggling to get her career off the ground. She took a job at a record company, but her father insisted that she appear in a film he was producing and starring in for Showtime. After appearing in the independent drama "Park Day" (1998), Poitier joined her father on "Free of Eden" (1999), an endearing drama about a teacher-turned-businessman who helps mentor a high school dropout. The elder Poitier played businessman Will Cleamons, while his daughter played his hesitant protégé Nicole Turner.

Poitier's career picked up significantly when she appeared in Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the novel "True Crime" (1999), then took the role of Ruth in the biblical miniseries "Noah's Ark" (NBC, 1999). Continuing her relationship with NBC, she became a series regular for the pilot of a new drama, "This Life," which was later redubbed "First Years" (2001-02), a drama about five first-year law students sharing a fixer-upper in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, CA. After shooting the indie drama "MacArthur Park" (2001), the series was picked up by the network and Poitier reassumed her role of Riley Kessler, girlfriend of a young man (James Roday) who disgraced his Peace Corp family by becoming a lawyer. The series proved to be short-lived, lasting only a month before getting cut off at the knees. Despite the failure of "First Years," Poitier remained determined to find the right television project.

In 2002, she landed the lead in the sitcom "Abby" (UPN, 2002-03); a series once conceived for spunky "Saturday Night Live" alum Cheri Oteri. Poitier played Abby Walker, a sports television producer living in a San Francisco apartment with her ex-boyfriend (Kadeem Hardison). A mid-season replacement on the network's schedule, "Abby" ultimately suffered from too much retooling during its development and failed to find a consistent audience, ending its run after only nine episodes. Still determined to find her footing in television, Poitier scrubbed in as a doctor dealing with a patient's potential plague infection in an episode of the revamped "The Twilight Zone" (UPN, 2002-03). Poitier gained significant traction with a recurring part on the first season of the hit teen drama "Joan of Arcadia," playing The Arcadia Herald editor Rebecca Askew and the love interest of Joan's brother Kevin (Jason Ritter).

In 2004, Poitier hit the big screen once again at the behest of her big sister Anika, writer and director of "The Devil Cats," a mockumentary about a fake all-girl band based in Los Angeles; Poitier produced the film and co-starred as rocker Hellena Handbasket. The film made its premiere at the Palm Springs Film Festival, but failed to make any subsequent headway. Meanwhile, Poitier went swiftly from "Arcadia" to fictional Neptune, CA as the guidance counselor of Neptune High on the teen detective series "Veronica Mars." Busier than she had ever been in her career to date, she appeared in Rodrigo Garcia's film, "Nine Lives" (2005), an anthology chronicling the lives of nine women struggling with the various disappointments of their lives. Though "Veronica Mars" became something of a cult hit, Poitier's role was excised due to a ballooning budget. After the limited release of "Nine Lives," Poitier's schedule lightened somewhat after her filming "The List" (ABC Family Channel, 2007), a romantic comedy about a young executive (Wayne Brady) looking for love after getting dumped by his girlfriend on live television. Things picked up again when Poitier was tapped by pop film maverick Quentin Tarantino for his "Death Proof" segment of "Grindhouse" (2007), a double-feature collaboration with filmmaking comrade Robert Rodriguez.

Back on television, she landed a guest spot on one of television's hottest dramas, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ). Following a role in the indie film "Blues" (2008), Poitier took another shot at regular TV work as FBI Agent Carrie Rivai on the short-lived reboot of "Knight Rider" (NBC, 2008-09). Despite being heavily promoted, lavishly produced, and featuring names like Val Kilmer (as the voice of the automotive AI, K.I.T.T.), "Knight Rider" suffered the same early demise as the actress' earlier ventures on episodic television. Poitier honed her craft in a few short films before resurfacing on TV in 2011 with an appearance on the children's action-comedy series "Supah Ninjas" (Nickelodeon, 2011- ) and a recurring role on the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off "Private Practice" (ABC, 2007- ).