Film & TV

Hollywood Icon Cicely Tyson Dies at 96

Days after releasing her memoir, ‘Just As I Am.’

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Hollywood Icon Cicely Tyson Dies at 96

Days after releasing her memoir, ‘Just As I Am.’

Known for shattering stereotypes and paving the way for Black actresses in Hollywood, Cicely Tyson died at the age of 96 on January 28. Her manager Larry Thompson confirmed the news with CNNThe cause of her death was not revealed.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” Thompson 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.”

The Emmy- and Tony-winning actress made her on-screen debut through a 1957 film titled Twelve Angry Men, followed by her formal debut in Odds Against Tomorrow in 1959. Since then, the talent involved herself in projects that gave Black women the opportunity to take on major roles: Sounder (1972), The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), Roots (1977), The Marva Collins Story (1981), The Women of Brewster Place (1989) and The Help (2011).

According to Variety, “throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women.” In 2016, she received the Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to her by former U.S. president Barack Obama. “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only exceeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history,” Obama stated.

To learn more about Tyson’s legendary career, read her memoir Just As I Am, which is out now.

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