Dec. 19th, 1933
New York City, New York, USA
5' 3 1/2"
Cicely Tyson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2012 - Alex Cross
2011 - The Help
2010 - Why Did I Get Married Too?
2006 - Madea's Family Reunion
2006 - Idlewild
2005 - Diary of a Mad Black Woman
2005 - Because of Winn-Dixie
1997 - Hoodlum
1991 - Fried Green Tomatoes
1981 - Bustin' Loose
1972 - Sounder
1968 - The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
1959 - Odds Against Tomorrow
Guest TV Roles
Carrie Grace Battle
Herself - Host
Justice Gretchen Parkhurst
Cicely Tyson was raised in Harlem, New York by devoutly religious parents from the Caribbean island of Nevis. She was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine and, with her stunning looks, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling industry. In 1957, she began acting in Off-Broadway productions. She had small roles in feature films before she was cast as Portia in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) in 1968. Four years later, Cicely was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her sensational performance in the critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972). In 1974, she went on to portray a 110-year-old former slave in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) (TV), which earned her two Emmys. While Cicely has not appeared steadily onscreen because of her loyality to only portray strong, positive images of Black women, she is without a doubt one of the most talented, beautiful actresses to have ever graced the stage and screen.
- Honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Worked as a secretary and model while establishing herself as an actress
- In 1972 she and singer-actress 'Diana Ross (I)' (qv) were both nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" Oscars for their performances in _Lady Sings the Blues (1972)_ (qv) and _Sounder (1972)_ (qv) respectively. This was only the second time in the history of the Academy Awards that African American actresses were nominated in the "Best Actress" Oscar category. The first was 'Dorothy Dandridge' (qv)'s nomination for _Carmen Jones (1954)_ (qv).
- Tyson won a judgment entitling her to full payment ($750,000) for her appearance in the short-lived 1983 Broadway play "A Corn Is Green," An Appeals Court upheld an earlier ruling handed down in 1996 in favor of Tyson. Tyson was under contract to producer 'Elizabeth Taylor' (I) 's to act in stage and screen versions of the classic play. After critics panned the play, Tyson was fired for taking a night off to attend a tribute to her then-husband, the late jazz musician 'Miles Davis (I)' (qv). The play closed after less than two weeks. Tyson maintained she should be paid as negotiated in her contract, even though the show closed early and a planned TV video of the production was never made.
- Is one of only 7 African-American actresses to receive the Best Actress Oscar nomination. The others in chronological order are: 'Dorothy Dandridge' (qv), 'Diana Ross (I)' (qv), 'Diahann Carroll' (qv), 'Whoopi Goldberg' (qv), 'Angela Bassett' (qv) and 'Halle Berry' (qv).
- The Cicely Tyson High School of Performing and Fine arts was named in her honor is located in East Orange, New Jersey.
- She was married to 'Miles Davis (I)' (qv) by 'Andrew Young (IV)' (qv) in the home of 'Bill Cosby' (qv). Bill Cosby was the best man, and gave away the bride.
- She was the Thursday night host for CBS Radio's "Sears Mystery Theater" (1979). She was still Thursday's host when it became "The Mutual Radio Theater" on Mutual Radio (1980).