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Cicely Tyson, groundbreaking award-winning actor, dead at 96

Cicely Tyson
Obit Cicely Tyson
Posted at 4:14 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 20:57:42-05

Cicely Tyson, the pioneering Black actor who gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper’s wife in “Sounder,” a Tony Award in 2013 at age 88 and touched TV viewers’ hearts in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” has died.

She was 96.

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. Besides her Oscar nomination, she won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in the 1974 television drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”

She then won an Emmy for supporting best actress for her role in the "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." Over the years, she was nominated for 17 Emmy Awards.

For five out of six years, Tyson was nominated for outstanding guest actress in a drama series for her role as Ophelia Harkness on the hit TV show "How to Get Away with Murder."

In 1973, Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for her role in "Sounder." In 2018 she earned the Academy Honorary Award.

"I have managed Miss Tyson's career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing," Tyson's manager Larry Thompson 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."