Award-winning actress, Cicely Tyson was best known for her notable roles in The Help, The Trip to Bountiful, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
She was born on December 19th, 1924 in New York City and grew up in Harlem. At just 18-years-old, Tyson walked away from her job at the time to begin modeling.
Most don’t know that when Tyson landed her first acting job, her mother believed she was going down a ‘sinful path’ and kicked Cicely out of her home. The two did not speak for two years before reconciling.
In 1963, Tyson became the first African American star of a TV drama in the series, East Side/West Side. In 1972, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Sounder. In 1974, she was honored with two Emmy Awards for her role in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
In 1994, Tyson snagged her third Emmy Award for her role in the Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.
In 1997, Tyson became a member of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. She was honored by the Congress of Radical Equality and by the National Council of Negro Women.
In 2010, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People honored Cicely with the 95th Spingarn Medal – an award that is given to African Americans who have achieved success.
In 2013, after a 30-year break from Broadway, Tyson won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. Aside from entertainment, Tyson is also known for her commitment to the community. She co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 2015, Tyson was nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest role in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. She was also a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. Just one year later, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
When a school board in New Jersey wanted to name their performing arts school after her, she only agreed to do it if she could participate in school activities. In addition to that, she even taught a master class at the school.
Just one year later, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
On January 28th, Tyson passed away. Rest in peace to a legend.