Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

Date of Birth

Birthday: December 19
Birthplace: New York City, New York

Actress, advocate, and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson is renowned for her portrayals of strong female characters on stage, screen, and television, from her stunning initial stage appearance as Barbara Allen in Dark of the Moon to her triumphant 2013 return to Broadway.

Actress, advocate, and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson is renowned for her portrayals of strong female characters on stage, screen, and television, from her stunning initial stage appearance as Barbara Allen in Dark of the Moon to her triumphant 2013 return to Broadway.

After a 30-year hiatus from the Broadway stage, Ms. Tyson returned as Mother Carrie Watts in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful in 2013, for which she received rave reviews and the triple crown of theater awards: the Tony®, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Actress in a Play. Ms. Tyson returned to the Broadway stage in September 2015 in The Gin Game co-starring James Earl Jones.

Best known for her double Emmy® performance (Best Lead Actress in a Drama as well as a Special, unprecedented Emmy Award® for Actress of the Year) as Jane in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ms. Tyson also was recently nominated in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 for an Emmy for her recurring guest role as Ophelia, Annalise's mother (Viola Davis) in ABC's How To Get Away With Murder. She received her third Emmy Award® for The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and was nominated for her performances in Roots, King, Sweet Justice, The Marva Collins Story, and A Lesson Before Dying.

Ms. Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award® for Sounder. Her film credits include The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Fried Green Tomatoes, Because of Winn-Dixie, Hoodlum, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married Too?, The Help, Alex Cross, Last Flag Flying, and most recently in 2018, A Fall From Grace directed by Tyler Perry. On November 18, 2018, Ms. Tyson received an Honorary Oscar at the Motion Picture Academy's Governors Awards.

In March 2014, Ms. Tyson served as the executive producer of the film version of The Trip to Bountiful, presented on Lifetime television network. In 1977, as a student of the American Film Institute, Ms. Tyson directed the one-act play, Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn.

In recognition of her talent, dedication, and contributions, Ms. Tyson has been the recipient of countless awards including numerous Honorary Doctorates, most recently by Columbia University in 2014 as well as an unprecedented number of NAACP Image Awards. Other notable honors have been bestowed on her by the Princess Grace Foundation, National Urban League, National Council of Negro Women, National Civil Rights Museum, and organizations: PUSH, CORE, SCLC, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center.

Ms. Tyson is among the elite number of entertainers honored with a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. Ms. Tyson was recognized for her contribution to the performing arts at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. She is the recipient of the NAACP’s highest honor, the prestigious Spingarn Award.  She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, the highest civilian award of the United States.

Since 1996, Ms. Tyson has served as the guiding force of the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts. This $143 million institution of academic and creative expression in East Orange, New Jersey serves 1,200 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This cultural icon continues to develop her art as she takes on new roles and opportunities in her efforts to enlighten the human race.

Cicely Tyson was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Awards & Nominations

16 Nominations | 3 Emmys | 1 Honor
Hall of Fame - 2020
  • Winner
  • Cicely Tyson, as Honoree
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2020
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2019
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2018
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series - 2017
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series - 2015
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie - 2014
Outstanding Television Movie - 2014
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie - 2009
  • Nominee
  • Cicely Tyson, as Pearl
  • Relative Stranger
  • Hallmark Channel
  • A Larry Levinson Production
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series - 1995
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Cicely Tyson on the Red Carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Glynn Turman and Cicely Tyson on the red carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys.
Cicely Tyson
Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson on stage at the 69th Emmy Awards
Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson present an award at the 2017 Primetime Emmys.
Cicely Tyson on stage during the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys.
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Fill 1
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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Cicely Tyson speaks at the 25th Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, California on January 28, 2020.

Invision/AP
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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Television Academy Governor Dorenda Moore and Cicely Tyson at the 25th Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, California on January 28, 2020.

Invision/AP
25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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Shonda Rhimes and Cicely Tyson at the 25th Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, California on January 28, 2020.

Invision/AP
Cicely Tyson on the Red Carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Camera

Cicely Tyson on the Red Carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Invision/AP
Glynn Turman and Cicely Tyson on the red carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys.
Camera

Glynn Turman and Cicely Tyson on the red carpet at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys.

Invision/AP
Cicely Tyson
Camera

Cicely Tyson on the red carpet at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys.

Invision/AP
Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson on stage at the 69th Emmy Awards
Camera

Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson on stage at the 69th Emmy Awards.

Richard Harbaugh / Image Group LA
Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson present an award at the 2017 Primetime Emmys.
Camera

Anika Noni Rose and Cicely Tyson present an award at the 2017 Primetime Emmys.

Invision/AP
Cicely Tyson on stage during the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys.
Camera

Cicely Tyson on stage during the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys.

Invision/AP
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