Cicely Tyson at the Paley Center May 18, 2015. (Photo: Flickr/Darryle Carter)
Cicely Tyson at the Paley Center May 18, 2015. (Photo: Flickr/Darryle Carter)

The internet is reeling from news acting legend Cicely Tyson has died at age 96. Tyson recently appeared on “Talk of the Table” with Gayle King to discuss her new memoir Just As I Am. The Emmy- and Tony-winning actress was Queen of the stage and page, building an awe inspiring career playing dynamic women over six decades.

The model turned actress first appeared in 1957’s Twelve Angry Men and built a career from there, refusing to appear in films of the Blaxploitation era because of the negative depictions of African-Americans. Tyson received an Oscar nomination for her role in Sounder(1972) and an honorary Oscar in 2018. Tyson appeared in 95 television and film roles winning Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994) and multiple NAACP Image Awards for performances in A Hero Ain’t Nothing But a Sandwich, Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story and The Trip to Bountiful.

In 2005, the actress was one of 25 Black women honored for their contributions to art, entertainment and civil rights at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball.

Tyson also appeared in The Help (2012), winning a Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics Choice Award. In 2015, Tyson received a Kennedy Center Honor and in 2016, a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2020, Tyson received the Peabody Career Achievement Award.

A founding member of the Dance Theater of Harlem, Tyson was born in Harlem to parents who immigrated from Nevis in the West Indies.

Watch Tyson’s interview with Gayle King just two days ago:

Godmother to Tyler Perry’s son Aman, Tyson was married to jazz great Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988. The icon is survived by her niece Cathy Tyson and daughter Joan, to whom she dedicated her latest memoir. She was 96.

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual. 

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire. 

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