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Cicely Tyson's Life in Photos

The three-time Emmy winner died Thursday at age 96.

On Jan. 28, loved ones and fans said goodbye to legendary actor Cicely Tyson. As confirmed by her manager to Variety, she died Thursday afternoon at the age of 96. The star accomplished an incredible amount in her lifetime, so it's time to look back on the life of Cicely Tyson in photos.

Coincidentally, her memoir, Just As I Am, had only been released two days before her death, which her manager, Larry Thompson, reflected on in a 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."

Tyson will be remembered for numerous roles in film, on television, and on stage. She won three Primetime Emmy Awards during her career—and was nominated an additional 13 times. She also won a Tony Award, and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1972's Sounder, among other honors.

Read on to take a look back at Tyson's decades-long career through photos. And to remember another star we lost just one day earlier, here is Cloris Leachman's Life in Photos.


Cicely Tyson Portrait 1960
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Here, Tyson is seen in a portrait from 1960. After first working as a model, she was starting to take on more acting roles at this point in her career. In 1963, she became the first Black woman to star in an American drama series when she was cast in East Side/West Side.

For more little-known facts, here are 13 Celebrities You Had No Idea Were Related.


Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Tyson was married to jazz icon Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988. Here they are together at the premiere of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in 1968, years before they said "I do."

For more famous couples you may have forgotten were together, check out 15 Onscreen Couples You Totally Forgot Dated in Real Life.


Cicely Tyson in Sounder
Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images

In 1972, Tyson starred in the film Sounder, about a family of sharecroppers during the Great Depression. Here she is on set of the film.


Cicely Tyson 1973
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Here, Tyson poses ecstatically under a marquee for Sounder with her name on it in 1973. When this photo was taken, she had been nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, but the awards ceremony was still a couple of weeks away.

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Cicely Tyson 1974 Emmys
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1974, Tyson won two Emmys for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. She won for Best Lead Actress in a Drama and Actress of the Year for a Special. (The latter category existed for that year only.)


Cicely Tyson in King
NBC Television/Getty Images

Tyson played Coretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries King, alongside Paul Winfield who played Martin Luther King Jr.


Cicely Tyson and Rosa Parks Posing with Award
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

In 1984, Tyson presented Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks with the Eleanor Roosevelt Women of Courage Award from the Wonder Woman Foundation.


Sidney Poitier and Cicely Tyson
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Tyson was photographed with Sidney Poitier when they attended an American Film Institute event in honor of Gregory Peck in 1989.


Cicely Tyson 1994 Emmys
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In 1994, Tyson won her third Emmy. This time, it was for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special for her role in Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. 

For more Emmy trivia, check out 25 Stars You Won't Believe Have Emmys.


Cicely Tyson Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
SGranitz/WireImage via Getty Images

Tyson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997. She was joined by fellow actors Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, and Winfield.

And for the celebrities who shunned this honor, check out 11 Stars Who Turned Down a Spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Cicely Tyson 2005
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Later in her career, Tyson worked frequently with director, writer, and producer Tyler Perry. In 2005, she played Myrtle in Diary of a Mad Black Woman.


Cicely Tyson 2009
Scott Gries/Getty Images for IMG

At 84 years old, Tyson walked the runway for the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show in 2009.


Cicely Tyson 2013 Tonys
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

In 2013, Tyson won the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for The Trip to Bountiful. Here, she poses with Patina Miller, who won the award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for Pippin, and Billy Porter, who won for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots.


Cicely Tyson 2018
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

In 2018, Tyson received an honorary Oscar, which was presented to her by director Ava DuVernay.


Cicely Tyson 2020
Tommaso Boddi/WireImage via Getty Images

One of the last times Tyson was photographed at an event was in Jan. 2020 at the Television Academy's 25th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

And for more legendary women, check out The Biggest Female Icon Every Year Since You Were Born.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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