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One day my sister Teddy said to me, “What are you going to do? What would you like to do when you grow up?” And I remember—at that time I was about twelve—I told my sister that I would like to go to Hollywood and become a cowboy.

I had just seen my first movie—it was a cowboy movie, of course—and I thought it was the most amazing thing. I had no idea that Hollywood meant the movie business. I thought Hollywood was where they raised cows, and where they used horses to keep the cows corralled, and where the cowboys were good guys, and they were always fighting the bad guys, who were trying either to steal the cows or do something to the people who owned the cows, and I wanted to do that kind of work.

Teddy laughed, but the laughter wasn’t at me; she laughed with me. … I’m sure she must have thought it was so wonderful that I was having this terrific dream, but she didn’t correct me, she didn’t say, “That’s such a way-out fantasy.” She didn’t say, “Who do you think you are? Man, you better get your feet on the ground. Boy, you got a long way to go.” No, she obviously had dreams too.

About ten years later the family was able to gather in a theater in Nassau to see the first picture I ever made, something called No Way Out. This was in 1950, and it was the first time my parents had ever seen a movie. It must have been something like a fantasy for them, a dream.

Sidney Poitier, "The Measure of a Man"
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