by Sandi Durell . . .
Most remember the great actress-activist Cicely Tyson for her Oscar nomination in Sounder as the sharecropper’s wife in 1972, followed by her role in TV’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. She achieved 16 Emmy nominations, winning three and was the first black actress to win a lead actress Emmy.
Small but mighty in talent and spirit, she eventually received an Honorary Oscar in 2019. Her career spanned 70 years racking up dozens of films, TV series and a Tony Award in 2013 for her role as Mrs. Carrie Watts in the revival of Horton Foote’s Trip to Bountiful on Broadway opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., Vanessa Williams and Condola Rashad, which I had the pleasure of seeing, along with her 2015 performance opposite James Earl Jones in The Gin Game. I did find it especially exciting attending the Outer Critics Circle Awards on May 23, 2013, to see her accept yet another award for her role in Bountiful at the tender age of 88. (video below)
Cicely Tyson was a pioneer for many black women in and out of theater and has won numerous other awards – – inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977 – – receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Pres. Barack Obama in 2016 – – having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She will be remembered as a woman of great substance, grace and dignity, an icon for the future of Black women everywhere.
Photos by JK Clarke at the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Awards