Cicely Tyson is a renowned American actress who is best recognized for her appearance as Rebecca Morgan in the movie ‘Sounder’. A high-profile actress, Tyson, through her strength and perfection created a stand for herself in the field of entertainment that delivered her an iconic African American personality to reckon with. Despite coming from a culture that ragged black women as ‘worthless’, Tyson not just showed it otherwise but also advanced the bar for the position of women and their engagement in the entertainment industry. Unlike other actresses who believed whatever performances came their way, Tyson was remarkably choosy about her work.
More than often, she flatly declined to do movies, or take parts individually for the paycheck. She was remarkably selective about the characters she chose as she wanted them to have depth and meaning. As such, Tyson’s career trajectory wasn’t always a constant one. Often she fought to find meaningful work. However, looking back, Tyson’s career has been decorated with a chain of successful acting projects including ‘The Help’, ‘The Trip to Bountiful’, ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’, ‘Sounder’, and ‘Roots.’ A Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, she also has many other awards in her kitty.
Cicely Tyson Wiki/Bio
|Birth Name||Cicely Tyson|
|Age||(as in 2023) 99 Years|
|Sun Sign/Zodiac Sign||Sagittarius|
|Birth Place||Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, United States|
|Date of Birth||19 December 1924|
|Residence||• New York|
|Home Town||Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, United States|
|Mother’s Name||Frederica Tyson (Domestic Worker)|
|Father’s Name||William Augustine Tyson (Worked different jobs like carpenter, painter)|
|Others||• John Tyson (Paternal Grandfather)|
• Caroline Wilkes (Paternal Grandmother)
• Charles Huggins (Maternal Grandfather)
• Mary Sergeant (Maternal Grandmother)
• Cathy Tyson (Niece) (Actress)
|Affairs/Boyfriends||• Kenneth Franklin |
• Billy Dee Williams (1954-1966)
• Jimmy Kind (1959)
• Miles Davis (1970-1988)
Marital Status, Husband and Children
|Marriage Date||26 November 1981|
|School||Bayard Rustin Educational Campus|
|College/University||• Clark Atlanta University|
• Columbia University
• Howard University
• Morehouse College
|Profession||Actress, Voiceover Artist, Producer, Former Fashion Model|
|Brands Endorsed||National Coffee Association Commercial in 1984|
|Career Manager||Paradigm Talent Agency, Talent and Literary Agency, Beverly Hills, California, United States.|
Height, Weight, and Figure Measurements
|Height (Approx.)||in centimeters- 161 cm|
in meters- 1.61 m
in feet inches- 5’3”
|Weight (Approx.)||in kilograms- 57 kg|
in pounds- 125.5 lbs
|Breast Size||32 Inches|
|Hips Size||32 Inches|
|Waist Size||26 Inches|
Extra Ordinary Features
|Race / Ethnicity||Black|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Dress Size||Not Available|
|Shoe Size||Not Available|
|Favorite Actress||Not Available|
|Favorite Actors||Not Available|
|Favorite Colors||Not Available|
|Favorite Sport||Not Available|
Tyson was born in Harlem, the daughter of Frederica Tyson, a household worker, and William Augustine Tyson, who served as a carpenter, painter, and at any other job, he could see. Her parents were newcomers from Nevis in the West Indies. Her father came to New York City at age 21 and was treated at Ellis Island on August 4, 1919.
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At age 18, Tyson wedded Kenneth Franklin on December 27, 1942. The marriage was later ended. She first dated jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in the 1960s, while he was going through his divorce with dancer Frances Davis. Davis used a photo of Tyson for his 1967 album, Sorcerer.
Davis told the press in 1967 that he planned to marry Tyson in March 1968 after his divorce was concluded, but he married singer Betty Davis that September. Tyson and Davis rekindled their connection in 1978. They were married on November 26, 1981, in a ceremony conducted by Atlanta mayor Andrew Young at the home of actor Bill Cosby.
Their marriage was disturbed due to Davis’ volatile temper and betrayal. Davis charged Tyson with saving his life and helping him defeat his cocaine addiction. They lived in Malibu, California, and New York City, until she registered for divorce in 1988. Their divorce was settled in 1989, two years before Davis died in 1991.
Tyson has no children. However, actress RaéVen Larrymore Kelly is her adopted granddaughter. Tyson chose Kelly to be her granddaughter in her NBC TV series, “Sweet Justice” with Melissa Gilbert.
Cicely Tyson Net Worth
Cicely Tyson has a net worth of $12 million dollars.
|Estimated Net Worth in 2023 (Approx)||$12 Million|
|Estimated Net Worth in 2022 (Approx)||$10 Million|
|Estimated Net Worth in 2021 (Approx)||Under Review|
|Annual Salary||Under Review|
|Income Source||Actress, Voiceover Artist, Producer, Former Fashion Model|
Cicely Tyson Movies And TV Shows
- As a teenager, Cicely Tyson took up a typewriting job to make ends meet. However, designed for the world of glamour, she soon got the eye of a photographer of ‘Ebo*y’ magazine who granted her a career in modeling. Grabbing the chance, she changed to professional modeling.
- Tyson’s charming looks and charismatic personality served her speedily rise to the top of the modeling industry. Though Tyson was happy with how her career was growing, her religious mother was annoyed with her profession. When Tyson was granted her first acting job for a television series, this bothered her mother all the more who thought that Tyson was choosing a wrong path. Consequently, she kicked her out of the home.
- Cicely Tyson’s first acting project was a small character in a play in 1950.
- The following year, she took a minor character in the NBC series, ‘Frontiers of Faith’. Tyson’s first film performance came with the 1956 flick, ‘Carib Gold’.
- In 1961, she performed in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s ‘The Blacks’. The show was a major hit and went on to become the longest-running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, operating for 1,408 performances.
- After a couple of guest characters in television, she got a major character in the celebrated television series, ‘East Side/West Side’ in 1963. She starred in 26 episodes of the much loved and respected television series.
- Following ‘East Side/West Side’, Tyson acted in a single episode of ‘Slattery’s People’ and ‘I Spy’ before bagging yet another outstanding performance in the soap opera ‘Guiding Light’.
- Alongside television and theater, Tyson’s film career too grew regularly. She took up small characters in films such as ‘Odds against Tomorrow’, ‘The Last Angry Man’, ‘A Man Called Adam’, and ‘The Comedians’.
- In 1968, she got a featured character in the movie, ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ where she played the character of Portia. The movie was a significant hit both commercially and critically, winning two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations.
- Cicely Tyson traveled on to do more television work, taking up guest performances in various television series including, ‘Cowboy in Africa’, ‘The F.B.I.’, ‘Medical Center’, ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Mission: Impossible’, and ‘Emergency!’.
- Though she did a lot of work in television, films, and theater, the big breakthrough of her career came only in 1972 when she got the character of Rebecca Morgan in the movie, ‘Sounder’. A film evolution of an award-winning novel of the same name, ‘Sounder’ received huge acclaim and love. Her excellent acting and outstanding play helped her preference for a nomination for the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress.
- Taking her success story forward, she gave yet another spellbinding performance as the titular character of Jane Pittman for the television sequence ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’. The series was extremely appreciated and won her two Primetime Emmy Awards and a nomination at the BAFTA.
- Tyson’s work with successful television shows extended as she starred in the much acclaimed and highly appreciated television shows, ‘Roots,’ ‘King’, and ‘The Marva Collins Story’, each of which received her a nomination at the Emmy Awards for various categories.
- Throughout the decade of 1980s and 1990s, Tyson tossed between films and television. She did a couple of movies such as ‘Bustin’ Loose’, ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’, and ‘Hoodlum’ and many television shows including ‘Acceptable Risks’, ‘Benny’s Place’, ‘Heat Wave’, and ‘House of Secrets.’
- In 1994, she performed the character of Castralia, a housemaid in the television series ‘The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All’, for which she won her third Emmy Award.
- She served it up with the portrayal of the role of civil rights activist and attorney Carrie Grace Battle in ‘Sweet Justice’. The series made her yet another Emmy nomination.
- In 2005, Cicely Tyson co-starred in two movies ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ and ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’, the latter being a hit.
- She served it up with a couple of more film roles and documentaries. During this time, her best performance on television came for the show, ‘Relative Stranger’ which earned her an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of the character of Pearl.
- In 2011, Tyson was a part of the ensemble cast for the American period film, ‘The Help’. In it, she donned the role of Constantine Bates. The film was hugely successful as it opened to positive reviews and amassed more than $216 million at the box office.
- Ending her 30-year hiatus from Broadway, Cicely Tyson turned to perform the character of Mrs. Carrie Watts in Horton Foote’s ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ in 2013. The play was highly recognized. It also earned her, her first Tony Award for Best Actress in Leading Role. She reprised her role for the television version of the play as well.
- Currently, she executes the role of Ophelia Harkness in ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.
- In 2016, she did a guest role as Doris Jones in ‘House of Cards.’
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|1958||Odds Against Tomorrow|
|1959 ||The Last Angry Man|
|1966||A Man Called Adam|
|1968||The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter|
|1976 ||The Blue Bird|
The River Niger
|1978||A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich|
|1979||The Concorde Airport ’79|
|1991||Fried Green Tomatoes|
|2001||The Double Dutch Divas!|
|2005||Because of Winn-Dixie|
Diary of a Mad Black Woman
|2006 ||Madea’s Family Reunion|
Fat Rose and Squeaky
|2009||Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream|
|2010||Why Did I Get Married Too?|
|2013 ||The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia|
|2017||Last Flag Flying|
|2020||A Fall from Grace|
TV Shows & Serials List
|1963||To Tell the Truth|
|1963–64||East Side/West Side|
|1967||Cowboy in Africa|
Judd for the Defense
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
The Bill Cosby Show
Here Come the Brides
Marriage: Year One
Wednesday Night Out
|1974||The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman|
Free to Be You and Me
|1976||Just an Old Sweet Song|
A Woman Called Moses
|1979||Saturday Night Live|
|1981||The Body Human: Becoming a Woman|
The Marva Collins Story
|1985||Playing with Fire|
Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story
|1989||The Women of Brewster Place|
|1990||The Kid Who Loved Christmas|
When No One Would Listen
|1993||House of Secrets|
|1994||Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All|
|1994–95||Sweet Justice |
|1996||The Road to Galveston |
|1997||Bridge of Time|
The Price of Heaven (Blessed Assurance)
Mama Flora’s Family
|1999||A Lesson Before Dying |
Aftershock: Earthquake in New York
|2000||Touched by an Angel|
The Outer Limits
The Proud Family
|2002||The Rosa Parks Story|
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
|2014 ||The Trip to Bountiful|
|2015–2020||How to Get Away with Murder |
|2016||House of Cards|
|2020||Cherish the Day|
|Golden Globe Awards|
|Primetime Emmy Award|
|1974 ||Won 2 Times|
|2014||2 Times Nominated|
|Television Hall of Fame|
Facts About Cicely Tyson
- Her parents immigrated from Nevis in the West Indies.
- She returned to life the character of Jane Pittman in the 1974 television drama film, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, for which Cicely Tyson won a Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie” and an Emmy Award for “Actress of the Year – Special”.
- In 1977, she was cast as Binta in the critically lauded historical drama miniseries, Roots, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series”.
- Cicely Tyson won a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on August 21, 1997.
- She has been buddies with actor and director Kevin Hooks.
- She is a part of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
- Cicely Tyson and Arthur Mitchell co-founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Cicely Tyson started her career on television in 1951. She worked her way through many guest appearances, and even acted in a soap opera. In 1972 she performed the character of Rebecca Morgan in the movie Sounder. She was nominated for both the Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her work in the film. Then in 1974, her description of the title character in the TV film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” won her two Emmy Awards. Cicely Tyson is the beneficiary of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actor Guild, one Tony Award, and an honorary Academy Award. Tyson was called a Kennedy Center honoree in 2015. In November 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the biggest civilian honor in the United States. Cicely Thompson is still working, you can see her on Netflix in “A Fall From Grace. A good question about a great lady.
Cicely Tyson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 for her contributions to the Arts and American Culture. Tyson co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem. She won two Emmy awards and was the first Black woman to receive an Honorary Oscar. She was widely praised for taking only roles that depicted strong Black female characters, as much as her refusal to accept parts that did not. On a personal note, while I may question some honorees over the years, I feel that Cicely Tyson was largely deserving of the honor.
The president can award the medal to anyone for any reason, or for no reason. Cicely Tyson is a great performer and artist. And she is not even native-born, she is from Nevis. I am glad that artists and actors sometimes are awarded this medal.
Cicely Tyson is Mike Tyson’s mother and also the founder of Tyson chicken.