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Legendary Cicely Tyson Has Passed Away At 96

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We are saddened to report that Cicely Tyson, the greatest African American actress to ever live, has passed away at the age of 96.

The legendary actress opened many doors for black actresses and actors for many decades.

Bustin Loose was the first movie I can recall seeing Cicely Tyson star in.
Even Though I was just a kid, I had the biggest, most innocent crush on her ever! Yes, I tell you she was so beautiful to me I just loved her so… Kind of like a 4th-grade kid who has a crush on his teacher.

She was very bold and realistic with her acting skills playing each part in every movie with love, honor, and passion!
Cicely hit the big screen at the age of 31 in the 1956 black-and-white film “Carib Gold”.
In 1972, Tyson was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in Sounder, and also won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards.
In her more than seven-decade career, Cicely Tyson has achieved many things in life, including winning all of our hearts through her stellar performances. Roots were one of the most memorable films from the past, as it showcased slavery and the many bad things that America has done to our people.
Rest in peace Cicely Tyson!!! Thank You!
You have given us many jewels from the words of your wisdom and will be missed greatly.

Below are some of the many great achievements of our great African American hero
provided by Wikipedia

Early work

Tyson in 1973

Tyson was discovered by a photographer for Ebony magazine and became a successful fashion model. Her first acting role was on the NBC television series Frontiers of Faith in 1951.[10] Tyson played her first film role in Carib Gold in 1956.[11] She then appeared in Odds Against Tomorrow and The Last Angry Man, Her first stage appearance was in Vinnette Carroll‘s production of Dark of the Moon at the Harlem YMCA in 1958.[12]

She became the first African American to star in a television drama when she starred in the series East Side/West Side (1963–1964), playing a social worker. She was at the time the only African American regular member of a TV cast,[13][14] She also had a role in the soap opera The Guiding Light.[15]

In the early 1960s, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet‘s The Blacks. She played the role of Stephanie Virtue Secret-Rose Diop; other notable cast members included; Maya AngelouJames Earl JonesGodfrey CambridgeLouis Gossett Jr., and Charles Gordone.[16] The show was the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances.[17] On March 25, 1963, Tyson appeared on the game show To Tell The Truth as a decoy contestant for Shirley Abicair.[18][better source needed] She appeared with Sammy Davis Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966)[19][20] and starred in the film version of The Comedians (1967) based on the Graham Greene novel.[21] In 1968 Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter [22].


In 1972, Tyson played the role of Rebecca Morgan in the film Sounder. She was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in Sounder, and also won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards.[citation needed]

In 1974, Tyson played the title role in the television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Tyson’s portrayal of a centenarian black woman’s life from slavery until her death before the Civil rights movement won her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie and an Emmy Award for Actress of the Year – Special. Tyson was also nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in this television film.[23]

Tyson’s television roles included; Binta in the 1977 miniseries Roots, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a MovieCoretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries King, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a MovieMarva Collins in the 1981 television film The Marva Collins Story, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie, and Muriel in the 1986 television film Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.[citation needed]

Later career

In 1989, Tyson appeared in the television miniseries, The Women Of Brewster Place.[24] In 1991, Tyson appeared in Fried Green Tomatoes as Sipsey.[25] In the 1994–95 television series, Sweet Justice, Tyson portrayed a civil rights activist and attorney named Carrie Grace Battle, a character she shaped by reportedly consulting with noted Washington, D.C. civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree.[citation needed] Her other notable film roles include the dramas Hoodlum (1997) and Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), and the television films Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994) (for which she received her third Emmy Award) and A Lesson Before Dying (1999).[citation needed] In 2005, Tyson co-starred in Because of Winn-Dixie.[citation needed]

In 2010, Tyson appeared in Why Did I Get Married Too? and narrated the Paul Robeson Award-winning documentary, Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream. In 2011, Tyson appeared in her first music video in Willow Smith‘s 21st Century Girl. That same year, she played Constantine Jefferson, a maid in Jackson, Mississippi, in the critically acclaimed period drama The Help.[26] Set in the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, the film won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.[citation needed]

At the 67th Tony Awards, on June 9, 2013, Tyson won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful. Upon winning, the 88-year-old actress became the oldest recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award. [27][28] She also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for the role.[29][30]

In 2013, Tyson played a supporting role in the horror film The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.[31] Beginning in 2014, Tyson guest-starred on How to Get Away with Murder as Ophelia Harkness, the mother of main character Annalise Keating (Viola Davis); for this role, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2020, she was in the popular movie A Fall From Grace featured on Netflix.[32]

Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, was published on January 26, 2021, two days before her death.[33]


Tyson in 2009

In addition to her Screen Actor Guild Award, her Tony Award, her Emmy Awards, and her Black Reel Awards, Tyson received several other honors.

Tyson received honorary degrees from Clark Atlanta University,[34]Columbia University;[35] Howard University;[36] and Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college.[37]

In 1977, Tyson was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. In 1980, she received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[38] In 1982, Tyson was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. The award is given to outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.[39] In 1988, Tyson received a Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.[40] In 1997, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[41]

In 2005, Tyson was honored at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. She was also honored by the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Council of Negro Women.[citation needed]

The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey, was named after her in 2009.[42]

Tyson was awarded the NAACP‘s 2010 Spingarn Medal for her contribution to the entertainment industry, her modeling career, and her support of civil rights.[43][44][45]

Tyson was a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.[46] She was awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama in November 2016.[47]

In September 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Tyson would receive an honorary Academy Award.[48] On November 18, 2018, Tyson became the first African-American woman to receive an honorary Oscar.[49]

In 2018, Tyson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[50] She was chosen to be inducted into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2020.[51]

Personal life

Davis and Tyson in 1982

Tyson had a daughter when she was 17 years old.[52] At age 18, Tyson married Kenneth Franklin on December 27, 1942.[53] According to her divorce decree, her husband abandoned her after less than eighteen months of marriage. The marriage was formally dissolved in 1956.[54][55] Tyson first dated jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in the 1960s when he was in the process of divorcing dancer Frances Davis.[56] Davis used a photo of Tyson for his 1967 album, Sorcerer. Davis told the press in 1967 that he intended to marry Tyson in March 1968 after his divorce was finalized,[57] but he married singer Betty Davis that September.[58]

Tyson and Davis rekindled their relationship in 1978. They were married on November 26, 1981, in a ceremony conducted by Atlanta mayor Andrew Young at the home of actor Bill Cosby. Their marriage was tumultuous due to Davis’ volatile temper and infidelity.[59] Davis credited Tyson with saving his life and helping him overcome his cocaine addiction.[59] They resided in Malibu, California, and New York City, until she filed for divorce in 1988.[60] Their divorce was finalized in 1989, two years before Davis died in 1991.[59]

Tyson was godmother to the singer Lenny Kravitz, having been friends with his mother, as well as to Denzel Washington‘s daughter Katia and actor, director, producer and writer Tyler Perry‘s son Aman.[61]

Tyson was an honorary member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[62] She was a vegetarian.[63]

Tyson died on January 28, 2021, at the age of 96.[33]


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