Facts about Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson Biography
Cicely Tyson was a star of stage and screen from the 1950s until her death in 2021 at the age of 96.
Tyson was nominated for an Oscar in 1973 for her lead performance in Sounder, and won Emmys for roles in TV’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994).
She was nominated many times for the Emmy (a few months before she died she was nominated for the 16th time); in 2020 Tyson was honored with a special award for her years of achievement.
Cicely Tyson was on screens big and small for nearly 70 years.
Tyson started her career in front of the camera as a model in New York. She studied at the Actors Studio in the 1940s, and in the 1950s was in The Blacks (with James Earl Jones), one of the longest running Off-Broadway shows of the era.
Tyson made her Broadway debut in 1959 and returned to the stage many times, including a Tony-winning performance at the age of 88 for The Trip to Bountiful.
On the big screen, Tyson first got critical acclaim with a supporting role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968, based on the novel by Carson McCullers).
Her Oscar nomination for Sounder boosted her career, and she followed that the next year with an astounding performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
Her offscreen activism and the strong Black Americans she portrayed onscreen made Tyson something of a Civil Rights icon by her later years.
Her film credits include A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich (1978), Bustin’ Loose (1981, starring Richard Pryor), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005, starring Tyler Perry).
Tyson’s TV credits include Roots (1977), King (1978, as Coretta Scott King), A Woman Called Moses (1978, as Harriet Tubman), The Marva Collins Story (1981, as Marva Collins), and the series Sweet Justice (1994-95) and How To Get Away with Murder (2015-20).
Cicely Tyson was married to jazz trumpeter Miles Davis from 1981 to 1989.
Something in Common with Cicely Tyson
- Actors born in New York (193)