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VIOLA DAVIS, REGINA KING, TYLER PERRY & MORE REFLECT ON THE LIFE & LEGACY OF HOLLYWOOD ICON, CICELY TYSON
Sunday, Dec 19, 2021
Long live, Queen Cicely.
Less than a year later, the world still mourns the passing of pioneer Cicely Tyson—an Emmy and Tony-award-winning actress whose career was nothing less than legendary. As a pinnacle of poise, strength, and substance, Queen Cicely— affectionately called by the likes of Ava Duvernay and Tyler Perry— adamantly battled against blaxploitation by accepting roles that shed a positive light on black women.
Cicely, a Harlem-bred black woman who broke countless boundaries, made her film debut in 1957’s Twelve Angry Men, followed by Sidney Poitier’s 1959 film Odds Against Tomorrow. She went on to star in several films, most notably Sounder (1972) which garnered several Oscar nominations including one for best actress and an honorary Oscar in 2018. With an increasingly impressive portfolio that included household movies like Miss Jane Pittman, A Woman Called Moses, and The Women of Brewster Place, she also starred in a string of TV series—with a most recent role as Viola Davis’ mother in How To Get Away With Murder.
Cicely’s last interview with Gayle King aired just a few days amid the release of her memoir last year,Just As I Am. When Gayle asked Cicely how she’d like to be remembered, she simply responded, “I’ve done my best.”
Viola Davis, Sherri Shepherd, Zendaya, Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Tyler Perry, and more took to social media to pay tribute to the fallen Hollywood icon after her passing. “If only we could be as blessed as the prolific, vivacious, and pioneering Cicely Tyson to live to be 96 and have had such a full life,” Shepherd shared on Twitter. Zendaya showed gratitude for Cicely’s zest for her artistry and called her one of the “greatest to ever do it” while Shonda said she was an “extraordinary person” and is grateful for “every moment” she spent with her. Viola said Cicely made her feel “seen and “valued” in a world that has “a cloak of invisibility” for dark-skinned women, and Tyler said he was watching Miss Jane Pittman when Oprah broke the devastating news to him.
See below as our Dish Nationhosts and more celebrities shared heartfelt tributes for the fallen actress. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the family, friends, and fans of Cicely Tyson. She did her best and we hope she is resting.
If only we could be as blessed as the prolific, vivacious and pioneering Cicely Tyson to live to be 96 and have had such a full life, accomplish so many awesome milestones and leave such an incredible body of work. She’ll never be forgetten! #CicelyTysonhttps://t.co/SUofWlnlA0
Cicely Tyson was a force on screen and stage. She defined the role of star actor on her terms, and made the arts and America better for it. Her performances were powerful and enchanting. They stuck with you long after the credits ran or the curtain dropped. May she Rest in Peace.
QUEEN somehow just doesn’t capture MS. TYSON. Her legacy has left an indelible mark. She paved a way that created a space for girls like me to feel the light. Thank you GODDESS CICELY. Rest in power. pic.twitter.com/VCBCwPpc05