Cicely Tyson dead at 96: Fans mourn pioneering actress who ‘broke many barriers’

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Pioneering actress Cicely Tyson has died aged 96-years-old. The Oscar nominee and two-time Emmy award winner reportedly passed away on Thursday, according to her manager, Larry Thompson.

With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon

Family statement

Her death was announced by her family via Thompson, who did not immediately provide additional details.

A statement read: ““With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon.

“At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”

In a separate statement, Thompson spoke of his relationship with Tyson, which spanned nearly 50 years.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” he said.

“Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life.

“Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”

Tyson’s successful career sports many film and TV credits, which saw her nominated 16 times for various awards.

Besides her Oscar nomination, she won two Emmys for best lead actress in a drama and best actress in a special, for playing a 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

She also appeared in 2011′ The Help and portrayed Jane Foster in the 1960s TV drama East Side/West Side, becoming the first ever black woman to gain a recurring role.

But her stardom was sealed in 1972’s Sounder, which captured several Oscar nominations including one for Tyson as best actress.

She received five nominations for guest actress in drama for hit series How to Get Away With Murder.

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Notably, throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women.

In 2018, she was given an honorary Oscar statuette at the annual Governors Awards, where she said: “This is a culmination of all those years of haves and have-nots.”

In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

At the ceremony, Barack Obama said: “Cicely’s convictions and grace have helped for us to see the dignity of every single beautiful memory of the American family.”

Following news of her death, fans took to social media to mourn the loss of such an important, pioneering figure.

“Such a beautiful and inspiring black icon. Rest peacefully, Cecily Tyson,” one wrote on Twitter.

Another remembered her fondly: “Bless you Cicely. Thank you for all you brought to us. I’ll never forget you in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”

“A true legend. A woman who broke through many barriers making her way into many homes. Take your rest now. R.I.P,” a third commemorated.

A fourth sent their prayers: “Rest in Peace Cecily Tyson. She blessed multiple generations with her artistry. An elder. A legend. A joy.


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