Image of Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, New York City, where she was raised by her devoutly religious parents, from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Her mother, Theodosia, was a domestic, and her father, William Tyson, was a carpenter and painter. 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). 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), which earned her two Emmy Awards. She also appeared in the television miniseries Roots (1977), King (1978) and A Woman Called Moses (1978). While Cicely has not appeared steadily onscreen because of her loyalty 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.

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Dec 19, 1924 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Hallmark Hall of Fame 1951-12-24
Latest Project:
Movie How It Feels to Be Free 2021-01-18
Known For
Poster of A Fall from Grace
Poster of The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
Poster of Fried Green Tomatoes
Poster of To Be Young, Gifted and Black: The World of Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words
Movie How It Feels to Be Free herself (archival footage) 2021-01-18
Movie A Fall from Grace Alice 2020-01-17
Series Cherish the Day Miss Luma Lee Langston 2020-02-11
Movie Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool Self 2019-08-23
Series Tamron Hall Self - Guest 2019-09-09
Movie Last Flag Flying Mrs. Hightower 2017-11-03
Movie Showing Roots Hattie 2016-04-23
Movie Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise Herself 2016-10-14
Movie And the Oscar Goes To... 2014-02-01
Movie The Trip to Bountiful Mrs. Watts 2014-03-08
Series How to Get Away with Murder Ophelia Harkness 2014-09-25
Series Madam Secretary Flo Avery 2014-09-21
Series House of Cards Doris Jones 2013-02-01
Movie The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia Mama Kay 2013-02-01
Movie Alex Cross Nana Mama 2012-10-18
Movie The Help Constantine Jefferson 2011-08-09
Movie Why Did I Get Married Too? Ola 2010-04-02
Movie Relative Stranger Pearl 2009-03-14
Movie Madea's Family Reunion Myrtle 2006-02-24
Movie Idlewild Mother Hopkins 2006-08-25
Movie Fat Rose and Squeaky Celine 2006-08-11
Movie Because of Winn-Dixie Gloria Dump 2005-02-18
Movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman Myrtle 2005-02-25
Series The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer Unknown 2005-08-08
Movie The Rosa Parks Story Leona Edwards McCauley 2002-02-24
Movie Jewel Cathedral 2001-02-07
Movie A Lesson Before Dying Tante Lou 1999-05-22
Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Unknown 1999-09-20
Series Aftershock: Earthquake in New York Emily Lincoln 1999-11-14
Movie Always Outnumbered Luvia 1998-03-21
Movie Blessed Assurance Vesta Lotte Battle 1997-08-17
Movie Ms. Scrooge Ms. Ebenita Scrooge 1997-12-10
Movie Hoodlum Stephanie St. Clair 1997-08-27
Movie The Road to Galveston Unknown 1996-01-24
Series The Outer Limits Unknown 1995-03-26
Movie Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All Castralia, Marsden Family House Slave / Maid 1994-05-01
Series Sweet Justice Unknown 1994-09-15
Movie House of Secrets Evangeline 1993-10-31
Movie Duplicates Dr. Randolph 1992-03-18
Movie Fried Green Tomatoes Sipsey 1991-12-27
Movie Heat Wave Ruthana Richardson 1990-08-13
Movie The Kid Who Loved Christmas Etta 1990-01-01
Series B.L. Stryker Unknown 1989-02-13
Movie The Women of Brewster Place 1989-03-19
Series LIVE with Kelly and Ryan Self - Guest 1988-09-05
Series Mama Flora's Family Mama Flora 1988-11-08
Movie Acceptable Risks Unknown 1986-03-02
Movie Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story Muriel 1986-05-19
Movie Intimate Encounters Dr. Claire Dalton 1986-09-28
Movie Playing with Fire Carol Phillips 1985-04-13
Movie Benny's Place Odessa 1982-05-31
Movie The Marva Collins Story Marva Collins 1981-12-01
Movie Bustin' Loose Vivian Perry 1981-05-22
Movie The Concorde... Airport '79 Elaine 1979-08-17
Series King Coretta Scott King 1978-02-12
Movie A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich Sweets 1978-02-03
Series A Woman Called Moses Harriet Tubman 1978-12-11
Series Roots Binta 1977-01-23
Movie Wilma Blanche Rudolph 1977-12-19
Movie The River Niger Mattie Williams 1976-04-14
Movie The Blue Bird Tylette 1976-04-05
Movie Just an Old Sweet Song Priscilla Simmons 1976-09-25
Series Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11
Movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Jane Pittman 1974-01-31
Movie Free to Be… You and Me Herself 1974-03-11
Movie AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to James Cagney Herself 1974-03-18
Series The American Film Institute Salute to ... Self 1973-04-02
Series Emergency! Unknown 1972-01-22
Movie Sounder Rebecca Morgan 1972-09-24
Movie Neighbors Unknown 1971-11-18
Movie Marriage: Year One Emma Teasley 1971-10-15
Series The Flip Wilson Show Unknown 1970-09-17
Movie To Be Young, Gifted and Black: The World of Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words Unknown 1969-03-02
Series The Bill Cosby Show Unknown 1969-09-14
Movie The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Portia 1968-07-31
Series Judd for the Defense Unknown 1967-09-08
Movie The Comedians Marie Therese 1967-10-31
Movie A Man Called Adam Claudia Ferguson 1966-03-16
Series Mission: Impossible Unknown 1966-09-17
Series The F.B.I. Unknown 1965-09-19
Series East Side/West Side Unknown 1963-09-23
Series The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Unknown 1962-10-01
Movie Odds Against Tomorrow Jazz Club bartender (uncredited) 1959-10-15
Movie The Last Angry Man Girl Left on Porch (uncredited) 1959-10-22
Series Naked City Unknown 1958-09-30
Movie Carib Gold Dottie 1957-09-30
Series Tony Awards Herself - Host 1956-04-01
Series Gunsmoke Unknown 1955-09-10
Series The Oscars Unknown 1953-03-18
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24