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Cicely Tyson

Cicely TysonBorn: 19-Dec-1933
Birthplace: Harlem, NY

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Sounder

Cicely Tyson owes her career to a good haircut. In a beauty salon, her hairdresser asked Tyson to model at a hairstyle show. At the hair show, she was spotted by a photographer from Ebony magazine, and began her successful career as a model. Within a few years, she was among the most successful black models in America.

Tyson made her stage debut in a mid-1950s YMCA production of Dark of the Moon, and her first film was an uncredited role in Carib Gold with Ethel Waters in 1957. In 1963 she played George C. Scott's secretary in a gritty drama about social workers in Harlem, East Side/West Side. The show had abysmal ratings, and was canceled midway through its first and only season, but Tyson's was the first black female character in an American TV series who wasn't written as a nanny, maid, or menial worker. In 1966, she joined The Guiding Light, becoming one of the first black actresses to win a regular role on a soap opera. In 1972, she starred with Paul Winfield in Sounder, and was nominated for an Oscar. She won Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. She has also played Coretta Scott King and Harriet Tubman.

In the camp classic The Concorde: Airport '79 with Robert Wagner, George Kennedy, and Charo, Tyson played a mother rushing a heart to her ailing son.

In 1983, Tyson appeared on Broadway in a production of The Corn Is Green which was poorly reviewed and closed after only two weeks. She was fired when she took a night off to attend a tribute to her then-husband, jazz musician Miles Davis. Tyson sued the producers, maintaining that she was entitled to payment in full as stipulated in her contract, about $750,000. The case and appeals took 15 years, but Tyson won.

Husband: Miles Davis (musician, m. 26-Nov-1981, div. 1988)

    American Film Institute board of directors
    Hillary Rodham Clinton for US Senate Committee
    Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors
    NAACP
    UNICEF
    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
    Emmy 1974 for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
    Emmy 1994 for Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
    Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame 1977
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 21-Aug-1997 at 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
    Spingarn Medal 2010

    TELEVISION
    East Side/West Side Jane Foster
    The Guiding Light Martha Frazier (1966)
    Sweet Justice Carrie Battle

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (1-Feb-2013)
    Alex Cross (15-Oct-2012)
    The Help (10-Aug-2011) · Constantine Jefferson
    Why Did I Get Married Too? (2-Apr-2010) · Ola
    Idlewild (25-Aug-2006)
    Fat Rose and Squeaky (11-Aug-2006)
    Madea's Family Reunion (24-Feb-2006)
    Diary of a Mad Black Woman (25-Feb-2005)
    Because of Winn-Dixie (26-Jan-2005)
    The Rosa Parks Story (10-Feb-2002)
    Jewel (7-Feb-2001)
    Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (14-Nov-1999) · Emily Lincoln
    A Lesson Before Dying (22-May-1999)
    Always Outnumbered (21-Mar-1998)
    Hoodlum (27-Aug-1997) · Stephanie St. Clair
    Riot (27-Apr-1997) · Maggie
    Bridge of Time (15-Mar-1997)
    Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1-May-1994)
    When No One Would Listen (15-Nov-1992)
    Fried Green Tomatoes (27-Dec-1991) · Sipsey
    Heat Wave (13-Aug-1990)
    The Women of Brewster Place (19-Mar-1989)
    Acceptable Risks (2-Mar-1986)
    The Marva Collins Story (1-Dec-1981)
    Bustin' Loose (27-May-1981) · Vivian Perry
    The Concorde: Airport '79 (17-Aug-1979) · Elaine
    A Woman Called Moses (11-Dec-1978)
    King (12-Feb-1978)
    A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich (3-Feb-1978)
    Wilma (19-Dec-1977)
    Roots (23-Jan-1977)
    The River Niger (14-Apr-1976)
    The Blue Bird (5-Apr-1976)
    The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (31-Jan-1974) · Jane Pittman
    Sounder (24-Sep-1972) · Rebecca
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (31-Jul-1968) · Portia
    The Comedians (31-Oct-1967) · Marie Therèse
    A Man Called Adam (3-Aug-1966) · Claudia Ferguson
    The Last Angry Man (22-Oct-1959)


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