Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Cicely Tyson, who distinguished herself in theater, film and television, died on Thursday afternoon. She was 96.
Tyson’s career of seven decades in Hollywood included films like Sounder and The Help.
Her manager, Larry Thompson, who managed and worked with her for over 40 years, said 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 made her film debut with a small role in 1957’s “Twelve Angry Men” and her formal debut in the 1959 Sidney Poitier film “Odds Against Tomorrow,” followed by “The Comedians,” “The Last Angry Man,” “A Man Called Adam” and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”
Tyson received an Oscar nomination in 1973 for Martin Ritt’s drama “Sounder” and an Honorary Oscar in 2018.
Some of the actress’s best work in television includes, “Miss Jane Pittman,” “Roots,” “The Wilma Rudolph Story,” “King: The Martin Luther King Story,” “When No One Would Listen,” “A Woman Called Moses,” “The Marva Collins Story,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and the TV adaptation of “Trip to Bountiful.”
Throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women.
Her latest work before her death was her memoir “Just As I Am” which was published on Tuesday, January 26.