Home Entertainment Cicely Tyson, iconic and pioneering actress, dies at 96

Cicely Tyson, iconic and pioneering actress, dies at 96

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson, an award-winning icon of the stage and screen who broke barriers for African-American actresses, died on Thursday. She was 96.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” said Larry Thompson, her longtime manager, in a statement. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”

Tyson was the first Black woman to star in a main role, in the TV drama East Side/West Side in the 1960s. She also won two Emmys for her performance in the 1974 civil rights-era film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.  She was nominated a total of 16 times in her career, also winning for supporting actress, in 1994 for an adaptation of “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.” Tyson received an Oscar nomination in 1973 for Martin Ritt’s drama “Sounder” and an Honorary Oscar in 2018.

“What struck me every time I spent time with Cicely Tyson was not necessarily her star power—though that was evident enough—it was her humanity. Just by walking into a room, she had this way of elevating everyone around her,” former First Lady Michelle Obama said in a Tweet.

Her memoir “Just As I Am” was published on Tuesday.