photo credit: Kathy Hutchins // shutterstock
Tyson’s death was announced by her family, via her manager Larry Thompson, who did not immediately provide 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,” according to a statement issued through Thompson.
A onetime model, Tyson began her screen career with bit parts but gained fame in the early 1970s when Black women were finally starting to get starring roles. In the 2000s, she appeared in a string of Tyler Perry films, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010). In June 2020, she received a career achievement at the Peabody Awards. Her work comprised several landmark features aimed at talking about the experience of Black people, from Alex Haley’s “Roots” to playing Coretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries “King.” To many, she broke ground for what Black actresses could play and has been cited by her “How to Get Away With Murder” co-star Viola Davis, as well as actress Kerry Washington, as an inspiration for their career. Tyson was married to famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988.
Tyson made us all feel like we were her children and grandchildren. I think we call all agree with Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody when he stated:
“She was a seminal figure of her time, and ahead of her time.”