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Cicely Tyson Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of Emmy Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson.


Birth date: December 19, 1924 (some sources say 1933)

Death date: January 28, 2021

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Cicely Tyson

Father: William Tyson, a carpenter and painter

Mother: Theodosia Tyson

Marriage: Miles Davis (1981-1988, divorced)

Education: Attended New York University

Other Facts

Served on the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s national advisory board.

Nominated for 14 Emmy Awards and has won three.

Nominated for one Academy Award. Recipient of an honorary award.

Nominated for one Tony Award and has won one.


1950s – Is discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine.

1956 – Appears on the cover of both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

1963 – Appears as “Jane Foster” in the TV series “East Side/West Side.”

1972 – Stars in “Sounder,” winning a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

1974 – Wins Emmys for Actress of the Year – Special and Best Lead Actress in a Drama for the film, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”

January 1977 – Portrays Binta, the mother of Kunta Kinte, in the miniseries, “Roots.”

1977 – Inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

1981 – Marries jazz legend Miles Davis in comedian Bill Cosby’s home.

1983 – Heads to Broadway, briefly starring in “The Corn is Green.”

1994 – Wins the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”

1995 – The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing & Fine Arts, an elementary school in East Orange, New Jersey, is named in her honor.

August 21, 1997 – Receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2010 – Is awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal.

2011 – Appears in the movie “The Help.”

March 2011 – Appears in Willow Smith’s music video for the song, “21st Century Girl.”

2013 – Returns to Broadway after 30 years, winning a Tony for Best Actress in “The Trip to Bountiful.”

2015 – Receives the Kennedy Center Honors.

November 22, 2016 – In a ceremony honoring 21 Americans, Tyson is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

November 18, 2018 – Receives an Honorary Award from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion PIcture Arts and Sciences along with Lalo Schifrin and Marvin Levy.

August 13, 2019 – The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) announces that Tyson will join the cast of its new anthology romance series “Cherish the Day.” The series, created with Warner Horizon Scripted Television, will premiere winter of 2020.

January 28, 2020 – Tyson is inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame along with Bob Iger, Geraldine Laybourne, Seth MacFarlane and Jay Sandrich.

January 26, 2021 – Tyson’s memoir, “Just as I Am,” is published.

January 28, 2021 – Tyson dies at age 96, her manager Larry Thompson confirms to CNN.

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