Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson has died at 96

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Cicely Tyson, RIP

Sad news to report today as it's been announced that Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96. "I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing," said Tyson's long-time manager, Larry Thompson, 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."

Over the course of her career, Cicely Tyson frequently refused to play any roles she thought would be demeaning to Black women, and went on to appear in movies such as A Man Called Adam, The Comedians, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Blue Bird, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The Concorde… Airport '79, Bustin' Loose, The Marva Collins Story, Fried Green Tomatoes, Hoodlum, Because of Winn-Dixie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married Too?, The Help, Alex Cross, as well as TV shows such as Naked City, East Side/West Side, I Spy, The F.B.I., The Bill Cosby Show, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, Roots, King, Sweet Justice, Touched by an Angel, The Outer Limits, House of Cards, Cherish the Day, How to Get Away with Murder, and more. The role which earned Tyson widespread recognition was Sounder, a drama that followed a family of Black sharecroppers facing a family crisis in the midst of the Great Depression. The film received a handful of Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Tyson, and she would later receive an honorary Academy Award in 2018.

Cicely Tyson was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2016, and in her recently released memoir, Just As I Am, admitted that she thought the phone call she received from one of President Obama's aides about the award was a prank and hung up. Feeling that she had to follow up, Tyson called a friend who had worked on Obama's campaign who informed her that it was legit. "My manager, of course immediately got the White House on the phone and confirmed my attendance at the celebration," Tyson wrote. When it comes to the legacy she leaves behind, Tyson wrote, "I want to go home knowing that I loved generously, even if imperfectly," adding that she also wants to "be recalled as one who squared my shoulders in the service of Black women, as one who made us walk taller and envision greater for ourselves" and "did the very best that I could with what God gave me — just as I am."

Source: Variety

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.