By Mark Kennedy, AP Entertainment writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Cicely Tyson, the leading black actor who received an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper’s wife in “Sounder”, won the Tony Award at the age of 88 in 2013 and won “The Autobiography” for TV audiences. Touched my heart. Miss Jane Pittman, “died on Thursday at the age of 96.
Tyson’s death was announced by his family through his manager, Larry Thompson, who did not immediately provide additional details.
“With a heavy heart, Miss Sisley Tyson’s family announced her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy, ”according to a statement issued through Thompson.
A onetime model, Tyson began her screen career with a few parts, but rose to fame in the early 1970s when black women finally began to get starring roles. Tyson refused to take parts for a paycheck, the rest selective.
“I am very selective because I am about my whole career in what I do. Unfortunately, I am not the type of person who works only for money. I have to have some real substance to do it, ”she told the Associated Press in 2013.
Tributes were paid to the two former presidents and Hollywood and Broadway from around the world, with many praising his career and careful approach to activism. “She took pride in knowing that whenever she had her face on camera, she would play a character who was a human being – flawed but resilient; Not to be true, but because of their flaws, ”wrote former President Barack Obama, who awarded Tyson the Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Former President Bill Clinton wrote online that Tyson “brought complex characters to life with dignity and heart, and humanity and depth, always true to themselves.” “He used his career to illuminate humanity among blacks. The roles he played reflected his values, ”Oprah Winfrey wrote.
Tyson’s memoir, “Just as I’m,” was published this week.
In addition to an Oscar nomination, she won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman”. He was seen by a new generation of filmmakers in the 2011 film “The Help”.
In 2018, he was given an honorary Oscar statue at the annual Governors Awards. “I come from a low position. I grew up in what was then called a slum. “I still cannot imagine that I have met presidents, kings, queens. how did I get here? I wonder about it.
Writing in “Blacks in American Film and Television”, Donald Brog described Tyson as “a striking figure”: thin and intense with a near-perfect bone structure, wonderfully smooth skin, dark penetrating eyes and a regal air. Introduced her as a woman. Conviction and commitment. (Listener) came to his senses … his strength and range. “
William H. “Sounder”, based on the Hunter novel, was a 1972 film to confirm his stardom. Tyson was taken as the Depression-era loving wife of a sharecropper (Paul Winfield), who is jailed for stealing a piece. Meat for his family. He is forced to take care of his children and participate in crops.
New York The Times reviewer wrote: “She goes through all her easy beauty to give us, in the long run, some sense of the profound beauty of millions of black women.”
Her performance garnered rave reviews, and Tyson won a 1972 Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.
In an interview on the Turner Classic Movies cable channel, she recalled that she was asked to test for a small role in the film and said that she wanted to play the role of mother Rebecca. She was told, “You’re so young, you’re so pretty, you’re so sexy, you’re the same, you’re the same, and I said, ‘I’m an actress.”
In 2013, at the age of 88, Tyson won a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a play for the revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful”. It was the actor’s first appearance on Broadway in three decades and when the teleprompter asked him to finish his acceptance speech, he refused to let me go away.
“` Please wrap it up, it says. Well, this is what you did to me: you wrapped me in your arms after 30 years, “he told the crowd. He had not prepared a speech (“I think that’s right.” “He told the AP later. I burned half my time thinking what I was going to say.”
He reprized his winning role in the play for the Lifetime television film screened at the White House. She returned to Broadway in 2015 for the revival of “The Count Game” opposite James Earl Jones.
His fame influenced all media. Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to praise Tyson as a “leading objective”. Sisley Tyson’s talent redefined theater, film and television. His courage, resilience and grace changed the entertainment landscape for generations to come. “Rihanna calls her” a true legend “, Neil Degrees Tyson calls her” a force of nature for herself “and Shonda Rhimes said” her strength and grace will always be with us. “
In the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman”, Ernest J. Based on a novel by Gaines, Tyson is seen aging from a young woman of 110 years of age who campaigned for the civil rights movement. 1960s.
In a touching climax, she laboriously walks to the “only blond” water fountain and takes a drink as white officers watch.
“It’s important that they see and hear history from Miss Jane’s point of view,” Tyson told The New York Times. “And I think they would be willing to accept him from someone younger than him”
New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael praised her: “She’s an actress, all is well, and strict and respectful in all the ways we’ve gotten together.”
At the Emmy Awards, “Pitman” won several awards, including two honors for Tyson, Best Lead Actress in a Play and Best Actress in a Special.
“People ask me what I like to do – film, stage, television? I say, ‘I must have done” Jane Pitman “in the basement or in front of the store.” This is the role that determines where I go, ”she told AP.
Tyson made his film debut in the late 1950s with minor roles such as “Odds Against Tomorrow,” “The Last Angry Man” and “The Comedian”. He played a romantic interest in Sammy Davis Jr.’s jazz musician “A Man Called Adam”.
He gained widespread notice with a recurring role in the 1963 drama series “East Side, West Side”, in which George C. Scott acted as a social worker. Tyson played the role of his secretary, making her the first black woman to play a continuing role in a theatrical television series.
He had a role in the 1968 drama “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, which the reviewer described as a full avatar of “Black Beautiful is Slogan”. “In Roots”, 1977 miniseries was one of which. One of the biggest events in the history of TV, she played the role of Binta, Kunta Kinte, the hero’s mother, played by Linta Burton.
She appeared in Broadway in the 1960s in “The Cool World,” “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright” and other plays. Off-Broadway, she appeared in a 1961 production of French playwright Jean Genet’s “The Black” alongside future stars such as Maya Angelou, Godfrey Cambridge and James Earl Jones.
He won a drama desk award in 1962 for a role in the off-Broadway “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl”.
Following her “Sounder” and “Miss Jane Pitman” successes, Tyson continued to look for TV roles that had messages, and she was also “Roots” and “King” (about Martin Luther King) and “The Rosa Parker Story” Succeeded with.
She complained to an interviewer: “We black actresses have always played prostitutes and drug addicts and house maids. I will not play that kind of characterless role, even if I have to die of hunger. “
She continued to work with films such as “The Blue Bird,” “Concord – Airport ’79,” Fried Green Tomato, “” The Grass Harp “and Tyler Perry’s” Diary of a Mad Black Woman “.
She won a supporting actress Emmy in 1994 for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tales All”. She was nominated for Emmys several times for “Roots,” “King,” “Marva Collins Story” “Sweet Justice” and “A Lesson Before Dying”.
In recent years, she was part of a panel discussion for “Cherish the Day”, an eight-episode anthology series produced and produced by Ava DuVernay. She played the mother of Viola Davis’ character on “How to Get Away with Murder.”
Tyson’s parents moved to New York from the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, where Cicely (spelled her name early Kelly and Cicely) was born in 1924, the youngest of three children. When her parents separated, her mother left for Kalyan. 9 Cicely sold shopping bags on East Harlem streets.
When she graduated from high school, she worked as a secretary in the Red Cross. Her striking look inspired friends to advise her on modeling and this led to her starting acting schools, theaters, films and television.
“My mother told me that I could no longer live in her house because I was determined to become an actress,” she told an interviewer in 1990. “I said ‘Okay,’ and I walked out.”
Tyson was once married to jazz up the great Miles Davis. The wedding was held in 1981 at Bill Cosby’s house Massachusetts, Attended by show trade notifications. They divorced in 1988.
Tyson was never difficult to spot. She did not try to wear a very large hat for Aretha Franklin’s 2018 funeral, only to be overridden by her designer. The cap will become a viral highlight.
“I never thought in my career that I would be blown away by a hat! And I didn’t want to wear it, “Tyson later said. “I said, ‘I can’t wear that hat, I’ll stop the idea of the people behind me, they won’t see and they’ll call me by all kinds of names.” He just looked at me and said, “Put on a hat.”
She came around, thinking of the hat as a tribute to Franklin’s appearance at Obama’s inauguration.
AP National Writer Hillel Iteli contributed to this report.
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