Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson dies at 96

Actress Cicely Tyson

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, died Thursday at age 96.

Tyson’s death was announced by her family, via her manager Larry Thompson, who did not immediately provide additional details.

“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy,” according to a statement issued through Thompson.

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.

Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, was published this week.

In 2018, she was given an honorary Oscar statuette at the annual Governors Awards. “This is a culmination of all those years of haves and have nots,” Tyson said.

She was one of the recipients for the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour. At that ceremony, President Barack Obama said: “Cicely’s convictions and grace have helped for us to see the dignity of every single beautiful memory of the American family.”