We’ve lost a legend who recently recapped her life in her own words.
Source: Rich Fury / Getty
MadameNoire reports that Cicely Tyson’s manager Larry Thompson confirmed Thursday that the actress, 96, passed away. Thompson did not provide a cause of death.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon,” a statement from Thompson obtained by the AP read. “At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”
Just two days ago, an interview with Cicely Tyson went live on “CBS This Morning” of the legend recapping her personal life and expansive career as detailed in her memoir “Just As I Am.” The legendary actress told Gayle King about being born to West Indian parents in the 1920s, getting pregnant at 17, and being briefly married to the father of her child for two years. Cicely went on to pursue an acting career as a single mom and her mother was far from pleased with that choice. With that, her mom kicked her out of the house.
“She told me I couldn’t live there and do that, suddenly I found something that I loved to do and I had a child to support,” said Cicely. “My mother, I don’t know what she wanted me to be, she thought I was going to live in the den of iniquity because we grew up in the slums. Lots of prostitutes walking up and down the street and that’s all she knew about movies.”
Despite her mother’s concerns, Cicely of course went on to have an expansive 70-year career that included her formal debut in the 1959 Sidney Poitier film “Odds Against Tomorrow,” “The Comedians,” “The Last Angry Man,” and of course, 1972’s “Sounder” which landed her an Oscar nomination.
Her other credits included roles in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” which earned her two Emmy awards, “East Side/West Side,” 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,” and “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.” In 2016 she was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Just three years ago she became the first Black woman to be awarded an honorary Oscar.
At the end of Cicely’s interview with Gayle King, the journalist asked the legend what she “wanted people to remember about her.”
“I’ve done my best,” said Cicely. “That’s all.”
Your best, indeed.
Earlier this week Cicely excitedly tweeted to fans that her memoir was on sale.
We’ll be sure to support, R.I.P. Cicely Tyson.