Tribute for the American actress who passed away at the age of 96. When Tyson was born, doctors predicted she wouldn’t make it three months because of a murmur in her heart. What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t know, was that Cicely had a heart unlike any other — the kind that would not only beat for 96 more years but leave a mark on the world that few could match.
In her extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson was one of the rare award-winning actors whose work on the screen was surpassed only by what she was able to accomplish off of it.
Cicely wasn’t exactly destined for Hollywood. When she was a child, her mother a hardworking and religious woman who cleaned houses didn’t even let her go to the movies. But once Cicely got her education, she made a conscious decision not just to say her lines but to speak her truth.
At a time when parts for actors who looked like her weren’t easy to come by, she refused to take on roles that reduced Black women to their gender or their race. Sometimes, that meant she would go years without work. But she took pride in knowing that whenever her face was on camera, she would be playing a character who was a human being — flawed but resilient; perfect not despite but because of their imperfections. Across all of her performances, in legendary productions.
May her soul rest in peace