Oscar nominee, Emmy winner, and Tony Award winner Cicely Tyson has passed away.
Her manager, Larry Thompson, released a statement earlier today confirming her death. Per Vanity Fair, he said, “I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing. 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.”
Cicely has appeared in several memorable films and television shows, including Fried Green Tomatoes, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, East Side/West Side, Roots, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married Too?, How to Get Away With Murder, The Help, and Netflix’s House of Cards.
Cicely always played influential roles and was once quoted as saying to the New York Times, “I saw that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress. So I made the choice to use my career as a platform to address the issues of the race I was born into.”
She also said, “When I read a script: either my skin tingles or my stomach churns. When it tingles, I take it, and when my stomach churns, there’s no way I could possibly do it. No way.”
Per TMZ, while presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, President Obama said, “Cicely made a conscious decision not just to say lines, but to speak out. Cicely’s convictions and grace have helped for us to see the dignity of every beautiful member of the American family — and, she’s just gorgeous.”
Cicely just released a memoir on January 26 titled Just As I Am. She was 96 years old at the time of death.