Iconic Actress Cicely Tyson Reflected on Her Faith Just Before Her Death at 96
By Movieguide® Staff
Pioneering actress Cicely Tyson, known for her Oscar-nominated role in SOUNDER, died on January 28, at age 96.
Tyson’s family confirmed her death through her manager Larry Thompson with no additional details.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy,” a statement via Thompson said.
Tyson had recently released her autobiography titled “Just as I Am.”
“Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word,” Tyson wrote. “I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.”
Tyson said it was a “blessing” to grow up in the church.
“My mother was determined that our foundation be spiritual, just as hers had been,” Tyson wrote.
Tyson’s family has announced an official public viewing on February 15 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Place in New York City, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
COVID-19 safety regulations, such as masks and social distancing, will still apply, and photographs will not be permitted.
ABC News reported:
Besides her Oscar nomination, she won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” A new generation of moviegoers saw her in the 2011 hit “The Help.”
In 2018, she was given an honorary Oscar statuette at the annual Governors Awards. “I come from lowly status. I grew up in an area that was called the slums at the time,” Tyson said at the time. “I still cannot imagine that I have met with presidents, kings, queens. How did I get here? I marvel at it.”
Writing in “Blacks in American Film and Television,” Donald Bogle described Tyson as “a striking figure: slender and intense with near-perfect bone structure, magnificent smooth skin, dark penetrating eyes, and a regal air that made her seem a woman of convictions and commitment. (Audiences) sensed… her power and range.”
The award-winning actress, both on-screen and on Broadway, had also written on the topic of dying: “I don’t know when my day is coming. None of us does. Which is why, as soon as my lids slide open each morning, I say thank you. Thank you, Father, for the gift of another day. Thank you for just one more breath. Thank you for the sacred opportunity to live this life.”
“The way I see it, God isn’t finished with me. And when I’ve completed my job, he’ll take me. Until then, I’ve got plenty to do,” Tyson wrote.