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Cicely Tyson (born December 19, 1933) is an Americanmarker actress. A successful stage actress, Tyson is also known for appearances in the film Sounder and the television specials The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots.

Personal life

Tyson was born and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Theodosia (a domestic) and William Tyson (a pushcart operator), immigrants from the island of Nevismarker of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indiesmarker. Tyson's father William arrived in New York City at the age of 21 and was processed at Ellis Islandmarker on August 4, 1919. She married famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis on 26 November 1981 -- the ceremony was conducted by Atlanta mayor Andrew Young at the home of actor Bill Cosby. Tyson and Davis divorced in 1988. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.On May 17, 2009, Tyson received an honorary degree from Morehouse Collegemarker.

Career

Tyson was discovered by a photographer for Ebony magazine, and became a popular fashion model. Her first film was an uncredited role in Carib Gold in 1957, but she went on to do television - the celebrated series East Side/West Side and the long-running soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1961, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet's The Blacks, the longest running Off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. The original cast also featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone.She appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) and starred in the film version of Graham Greene's The Comedians (1967). Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and was in a segment of the movie Roots.
In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed Sounder. In 1974 she won two Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Other acclaimed television roles included Roots, King, in which she portrayed Coretta Scott King, The Marva Collins Story, When No One Would Listen and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All for which she received her third Emmy Award. In her 1994-1995 television series Sweet Justice, Tyson portrayed a feisty, unorthodox Southern attorney named Carrie Grace Battle, a character she shaped by consulting with and shadowing the legendary Washington, DCmarker civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree. In 2005, Tyson co-starred in the movies Because of Winn-Dixie and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The same year she was honored by Oprah Winfrey at her Legends Ball.

The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Artsmarker, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jerseymarker, was renamed in her honor. She plays an active part in supporting the school, which serves one of New Jersey's most underprivileged African-American communities.

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1959 Odds Against Tomorrow Jazz Club bartender
The Last Angry Man (1959) Girl Left on Porch (uncredited)
1966 A Man Called Adam Claudia Ferguson
1967 The Comedians Marie Therese
1968 The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Portia
1972 Sounder Rebecca Morgan Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama



1976 The Blue Bird Tylette, The Cat
The River Niger Mattie Williams
1978 A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich Sweets
1979 The Concorde: Airport '79 Elaine
1981 Bustin' Loose Vivian Perry
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Sipsey
1997 Hoodlum Stephanie St. Clair Nominated — Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2001 The Double Dutch Divas! Herself (short subject) (uncredited)
2005 Because of Winn-Dixie Gloria
Diary of a Mad Black Woman Myrtle NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Theatrical Film
Nominated — Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Madea's Family Reunion Myrtle
2006 Fat Rose and Squeaky Celine
Idlewild Mother Hopkins
2007 Rwanda Rising Voice of Jeanette Nyirabagarwa (documentary)


Television

Year Title Role Notes
Frontiers of Faith Tony "The Bitter Cup"
1962 The Nurses Betty Ann Warner "Frieda"
1963 Naked City "Howard Running Bear Is a Turtle"
1963-1964 East Side/West Side (26 episodes)
1965 Slattery's People Sarah Brookman "Question: Who You Taking to the Main Event, Eddie?"
1965-1966 I Spy Princess Amara
Vickie Harmon
Episode "So Long, Patrick Henry"
Episode "Trial by Treehouse"
1966 Guiding Light Martha Frazier
1967 Cowboy in Africa Julie Anderson Episode "Tomorrow on the Wind"
Judd for the Defense Lucille Evans Episode "Commitment"
1968-1969 The F.B.I.marker Julie Harmon
Lainey Harber
Episode "The Enemies"
Episode "Silent Partners"
1969 Medical Center Susan Wiley Episode "The Last 10 Yards"
The Courtship of Eddie's Father Betty Kelly Episode "Guess Who's Coming for Lunch"
1970 Gunsmoke Rachel Biggs Episode "The Scavengers"
Mission: Impossible Alma Ross Episode "Death Squad"
The Bill Cosby Show Mildred Hermosa Episode "Blind Date"
Here Come the Brides Princess Lucenda Episode "A Bride for Obie Brown"
1971 Insight Episode "The Bird of the Mast"
Marriage: Year One Emma Teasley (unsold pilot)
Neighbors
1972 Emergency! Mrs. Johnson Episode "Crash"
Wednesday Night Out
1974 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Jane Pittman Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Emmy Award for Actress of the Year - Special
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Free to Be… You and Me Herself
1976 Just an Old Sweet Song Priscilla Simmons
1977 Roots Binta (miniseries)
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Wilma Blanche Rudolph
1978 King Coretta Scott King (miniseries)
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
A Woman Called Moses Harriet Ross Tubman
1981 The Marva Collins Story Marva Collins NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1982 Benny's Place Odessa
1985 Playing with Fire Carol Phillips
1986 Intimate Encounters Dr. Claire Dalton
Acceptable Risks Janet Framm
Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story Muriel NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1989 The Women of Brewster Place Mrs. Browne
1990 The Kid Who Loved Christmas Etta
B.L. Stryker Ruth Hastings Episode "Winner Takes All"
Heat Wave Ruthana Richardson CableACE Award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1991 Clippers Donna (unsold pilot)
1992 Duplicates Dr. Randolph
When No One Would Listen Sarah
1993 House of Secrets Evangeline
1994 Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All Castralia, Marsden Family House Slave/Maid Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

1994-1995 Sweet Justice Carrie Grace Battle Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
1996 The Road to Galveston Jordan Roosevelt NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best TV Actress
Nominated — CableACE Award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie


1997 Bridge of Time Guardian
Riot Maggie (segment "Homecoming Day")
Nominated — CableACE Award for Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
Ms. Scrooge Ms. Ebenita Scrooge
1998 Always Outnumbered Luvia
Mama Flora's Family Mama Flora NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1999 A Lesson Before Dying Tante Lou Black Reel Award for Network/Cable - Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York Emily Lincoln
2000 Touched by an Angel Abby Episode "Living the Rest of My Life"
The Outer Limits Justice Gretchen Parkhurst Episode "Final Appeal"
2001 Jewel Cathedral
2002 The Rosa Parks Story Leona Edwards McCauley Black Reel Award for Network/Cable - Best Supporting Actress
2005 Higglytown Heroes Great Aunt Shirley Hero Episode "Wayne's 100 Special Somethings"
2009 Relative Stranger Pearl
Law and Order: SVU Ondine Burdett Episode "Hell"


Notes

  1. Cicely Tyson Biography (1933-)
  2. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-67858566.html
  3. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70612F73C5A137A93C3A9178BD95F468785F9
  4. The Staue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.


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