Black History Month

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โ–ฌ Cicely Tyson

feb 5th: cicely tyson


Cicely Tyson was born in New York City on December 19th, 1924. She was an amazing actress who paved the way for black actors and actresses all over America. She carefully choose all the roles she performed, ones that exemplified good character and quality. โ€Unless a piece really said something, I had no interest in it. I have got to know that I have served some purpose here.โ€ Often, she struggled to find something that sparked emotion within her.

Tyson had not been allowed to go to movies or watch plays as a child. Her mother worked in the domestic help industry and her father was both a carpenter and painter. Both were immigrants. Once she became a teenager, she had to start taking up multiple jobs to help make ends meet. At age 18, a photographer from Ebony magazine offered her a career in modeling. She shot up in this industry, and her religious mother was displeased. Once Cicely accepted her first acting job, her mother kicked her out.

The acting gig was a small role in a play, the year 1950. It was enough because in the following year she had a minor role in the TV show Frontier and Faith. In 1956, Tyson had her first film role in Carib Gold. In 1961, Frenchman Jean Genet asked her to act in The Blacks, the longest off running Broadway show of the decade.

A few more guest appearances on television led her to her first major role in a television show called East Side/West Side. She broke history that year (1963), becoming the first African-American woman to be the lead of a TV show. She did a few small jobs before getting another major role in the soap opera Guiding Light. Playing as Portia in the movie The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) earned her two Academy Awards nominations and four Golden Globe nominations.

The big breakthrough in her career came in the form of playing Robecca Morgan in the film Sounder. The movie (based on the book of the same name) earned a lot of appreciation and praise. For her efforts, Cicely was granted a nomination for the Academy Awards Best Actress. She played both big and small roles in a few other important movies such as Roots, King, and The Marva Collins Story. All movies earned her nominations for the Emmy Awards in various categories.

In the television series The Autobiography of Jane Pittman (starring Cicely Tyson as Jane Pittman), she won two Emmy Awards and a nomination for BAFTA. Through the 80โ€ฒs and 90โ€ฒs she played in a sprinkle of television shows and movies. Playing as Castalia in The Oldest Living Confederate Wife Tells All (1994) earned her her third Emmy Award.

In 2005, she starred in two major films: Because of Winn Dixie and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. She followed this up with a few more minor roles and guest appearances in tv shows and movies. Sometime during this period, she performed for the show Relative Stranger which earned her another nomination for an Emmy Award. 2011 saw her playing a role in the movie, The Help which brought in 0ver 216 million dollars in revenue and sales.

2013 was the year she broke her 30-year hiatus from Broadway. She played Mrs.Carrie Watts in the play The Trip to Bountiful which earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Since 2014, she starred in the television show How To Get Away With Murder where she was nominated for another award.

She died when she 96 years old, on January 28th, 2021.

Sources:

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/cicely-tyson-30306.php

https://www.biography.com/actor/cicely-tyson#:~:text=Tyson%20was%20born%20in%20New,typing%20job%20and%20began%20modeling.&text=When%20she%20got%20her%20first,her%20out%20of%20their%20home.

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