Cicely Tyson made history as the first African-American woman to win a best lead actress Emmy for her role as Jane Pittman
The death of renowned actress Cicely Tyson Thursday drew an outpouring of grief and an array of tributes from Hollywood and far beyond.
The actress and cherished icon, who was first Oscar-nominated for 1972’s “Sounder” and 45 years later was honored with an honorary golden statuette for her body of work, died Thursday at age 96, her manager Larry Thompson confirmed.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy,” Thompson said in a statement.
Tyler Perry said the news of Tyson’s death “brought me to my knees.” He explained that he received the news from Oprah Winfrey while coincidentally watching Tyson’s 1974 television film “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” on a whim.
“I was sitting at the table working when I got this overwhelming feeling to watch ‘Miss Jane Pittman.’ I hadn’t seen the movie in years. I didn’t even understand the feeling to turn it on, but I did anyway,” he wrote in a touching Instagram tribute. “Not 12 minutes into the movie my phone rang. It was Oprah calling to tell me that Cicely had died.”
Perry opened up about his close relationship with Tyson, saying she was the “grandmother I never had.”
“To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy,” he wrote. “She called me son. Well, today your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence. Always so regal, always so classy, always a lady, always a queen.