Black actress Cicely Tyson, an icon of two generations of African-American actresses and a Broadway star, died Thursday at the age of 96, her manager announced.
Tyson, whose career spanned more than 70 years, is known to the general public for her Oscar nomination for “Sounder” in 1973.
She also appeared in the movies “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “The Color of Feelings.” Most recently, she was part of the television series “Murder”, playing the mother of the main heroine.
Strongly committed to fighting racism and for social justice, she often rejected roles that she thought perpetuated racial cliches, especially as servants or prostitutes.
“It is with regret that Ms. Cicely Tyson’s family announces her peaceful departure this afternoon,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement to AFP, without specifying the causes of death.
Tyson won several Emmy Awards, equivalent to the Oscars on American television, as well as a Tony for stage performances.
In 2018, She received an honorary Oscar for her entire career.
“She is a queen for all African Americans,” actor and director Tyler Perry said at the time. “She had to work 10 times harder and get paid 100 times less” because she was black, she said.
For the composer, Quincy Jones, Tyson “opened the way” to several generations of actresses such as Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Viola Davis or Lupita Nyong’o.
Born in New York to Caribbean parents, Tyson began her modeling career before moving on to acting.