Hollywood has lost another legend.
Variety reports pioneering actress Cicely Tyson died Thursday afternoon at the age of 96. Her manager, Larry Thompson, confirmed the tragedy in the following statement:
“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” Thompson said. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”
The tragic news comes just days after Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, officially hit shelves. The book chronicles the Harlem-native’s upbringing and her decades-long career as a Black woman working in entertainment. Tyson looked back at her most memorable roles in projects like The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, and Sounder; the latter of which earned her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations in the Best Actress category.
In addition to feature films, Tyson also appeared in a number of stage productions and television series, including East Side/West Side, Guiding Light, Gunsmoke, House of Cards, and, most recently, Cherish the Day. She would go on to win a number of Primetime Emmys, a Peabody, a Tony, and an honorary Oscar in 2018, making her the first Black woman to ever receive the award. Tyson also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2016.
“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of Hollywood history,” Obama said. “Cicely made a conscious decision not just to say lines but to speak out. ‘I would not accept roles,’ she said, ‘Unless they projected us, especially women, in a realistic light and dealt with us as human beings.'”
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