Cicely Tyson, the pioneering Honorary Oscar victor who starred successful Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and earned 5 Emmy noms for her recurring relation connected How to Get Away with Murder, died today. She was 96. Click connected the representation supra for a photograph assemblage of her career.
Tyson’s manager Larry Thompson confirmed the quality but did not supply details of her death.
“I person managed Miss Tyson’s vocation for implicit 40 years, and each twelvemonth was a privilege and blessing,” Thompson said successful a statement. “Cicely thought of her caller memoir arsenic a Christmas histrion decorated with each the ornaments of her idiosyncratic and nonrecreational life. Today she placed the past ornament, a Star, connected apical of the tree.”
HarperCollins published Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, earlier this week.
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Tyson racked up 16 vocation Emmy nominations and won three, including 2 successful 1974 for her legendary crook in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, in which she played a Southern pistillate who was calved into slavery and lives to articulation the civilian rights movement. She was the archetypal Black pistillate to triumph a Lead Actress Emmy.
That relation came 2 years aft Tyson’s powerhouse show successful Sounder, about a Depression-era sharecropper household that indispensable woody a superior idiosyncratic crisis. She earned an Oscar nom for the show but mislaid to Liza Minnelli for Cabaret.
Her 2019 Honorary Oscar was the archetypal presented to a Black woman.
Tyson received her 3rd Emmy for The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994) and besides was nominated for her performances successful Roots, King, Sweet Justice, The Marva Collins Story and A Lesson Before Dying.
During an iconic vocation that spanned 70 years, Tyson appeared successful dozens of films, TV bid and telefilms and connected Broadway, winning a Tony Award for The Trip to Bountiful in 2013. She mightiness beryllium champion known to younger audiences for her relation successful Shonda Rhimes’ ABC play How to Get Away with Murder, on which she recurred arsenic Ophelia Harkness, the dementia-addled parent of pb quality Annalise Harkness (Viola Davis).
She besides was a regular connected Ava DuVernay’s OWN bid Cherish the Day, playing Miss Luma Lee Langston — a legendary prima of signifier and surface successful decades past — successful each 8 episodes of the drama’s 2020 freshman season.
Tyson besides was a pioneer successful Hollywood. She was committed to presenting lone affirmative images of Black women, and that stance astir apt outgo her immoderate enactment successful movie and television. Still, her enactment was wide recognized, and she was honored by the Congress of Racial Equality, the NAACP — she was an eight-time Image Award victor and 15-time nominee — and the National Council of Negro Women. In 1977, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
In 2016, President Barack Obama presented Tyson with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her publication to the arts and American culture. She was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame successful 2019 and received a Career Achievement Peabody Award past year. She besides was lauded with a Kennedy Center Honor successful 2015 and has a prima connected the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
What a vocation it was.
Born connected December 19, 1924, the autochthonal New Yorker launched her TV vocation successful 1951 with roles ranging from Naked City, I Spy and Mission: Impossible to Gunsmoke, The F.BI. and a co-starring gig other George C. Scott successful the mid-’60s CBS play East Side/West Side. Three decades later, Tyson landed different series-regular relation successful the NBC ineligible play Sweet Justice, playing a longtime civilian rights warrior alongside Melissa Gilbert and Ronny Cox. It lasted 1 play successful 1994-95.
More recently, she appeared connected the tiny surface connected specified fashionable play bid arsenic Law & Order: SVU, House of Cards and Madam Secretary.
Tyson made her silver-screen debut successful 1957’s Carib Gold and went connected to look successful specified films as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1967), George Cukor’s The Blue Bird (1976) — which besides featured Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner — A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (1978), Richard Pryor drama Bustin’ Loose (1981), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005) and Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and Best Picture Oscar nominee The Help (2011).
Tyson besides appeared successful a fig of Broadway plays, astir of which had little runs. Most precocious she starred other James Earl Jones successful two-hander The Gin Game and with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams successful Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful. She won a pb histrion Tony Award for the second and would reprise her relation arsenic Mrs. Carrie Watts for the 2014 telefilm, earning an Emmy nom for that performance.
Tyson was joined to jazz fable Miles Davis for respective years during the 1980s
Bruce Haring contributed to this report.