Remembering Cicely Tyson

By Naniyah McClain

Student Lifestyle Editor

The world lost Cicely Tyson, an epitome of grace, power and purpose. A legendary actor, model and humanitarian died Jan. 28 at the age of 96, two days after the release of her autobiography, “Just As I Am.” 

Tyson was born in Harlem on Dec. 19, 1924. Before her acting debut in 1951 in the NBC series “Frontiers,” she worked as a fashion model. In 1956, she had her first movie role in “Carib Gold.”

Surprisingly, Tyson never thought about going into acting. 

“As children there were three of us — I was the middle child — and we spent our time in church, from Sunday morning to Saturday night. Any movies we saw were shown in our church on Thursday night when they put up a bed sheet and got a projector, Tyson said in a recent interview with Elle magazine.

Tyson broke through in the critically acclaimed film “Sounder,” in 1972, and the “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” two years later.

With a catalog that has spanned seven decades, Tyson has made appearances in other films, Broadway shows and series such as “To Be Young,” the 2013 revival of “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Naked City,” “Roots,” “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Help” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.”

“I’m very selective as I’ve been my whole career about what I do. Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person who works only for money. It has to have some real substance for me to do it,” she told The Associated Press in 2013.

Tyson won three Emmy Awards, an honorary Academy Award, a Tony Award and a Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Tyson was also a founding member of the Dance Theater of Harlem and supporter of a magnet school in East Orange, N.J., which was renamed the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, in 1995.

According to Oprah Winfrey’s statement in her “Oprah” magazine, “She used her career to illuminate the humanity in Black people. The roles she played reflected her values.”

In her final interview with Gayle King, Tyson was asked, “When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?” Tyson replied, “I’ve done my best. That’s all.”

Cicely Tyson’s wisdom, strength and legacy will always be cherished.

COVID-19 Numbers

As of this morning there was an increase of 512  positive COVID-19 cases in Bergen County, adding to the 4,746 increase in New Jersey. 

 Fri. 1/29/2021Thurs.  1/28/2021
New Jersey681,283676,537
Bergen County65,85065,338

*Numbers according to Google Statistics

Stay tuned for more daily news updates tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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Remembrance for Cicely Tyson, a true legend. Art by Naniyah McClain.