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The Life and Art of Cicely Tyson

Posted 02/09/21 by Eric P

Acting is a tough racket. Some performers consider themselves lucky if they work for seven weeks. So to have an acting career that spans seven decades is a notable thing indeed.

Cicely Tyson, who died on January 28, accumulated over the course of her long career Emmys, a Tony, a Peabody, an honorary Oscar, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. On top of all that, Oprah Winfrey officially designated her a legend, and I’m pretty sure that’s even harder to get than a Nobel.

Tyson’s legacy is not only artistic but socially active; early in her career she was outspoken in her refusal to accept roles that were racially stereotypical or demeaning. Instead she chose characters who enabled her distinctive range. Sometimes she was indomitable, sometimes frail; sometimes earthy, sometimes regal – not infrequently, she was all of those at once and more. Her body of onscreen work tends to inspire not just admiration but reverence; as an eloquent friend of mine posted in a remembrance online, “How was she possible? And yet. She was.”

Tyson’s autobiography Just As I Am was published just a couple of days before she died.

Cover of Just As I Am

Just As I Am
By Cicely Tyson

A sampling of Tyson’s performances is available through the library via DVD and Hoopla, along with a couple of other books that address her career and her context.

Cover of I Spy

I Spy

Cover of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Cover of Neighbors

Neighbors

Cover of Free to Be – You and Me

Free to Be – You and Me

Cover of Roots

Roots

Cover of A Woman Called Moses

A Woman Called Moses

Cover of Bustin’ Loose

Bustin’ Loose

Cover of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

Hoopla
Cover of Hoodlum

Hoodlum

Cover of The Rosa Parks Story

The Rosa Parks Story

Cover of Madea’s Family Reunion

Madea’s Family Reunion

Cover of Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Cover of Why Did I Get Married Too

Why Did I Get Married Too

Cover of The Help

The Help

Blu-ray
Cover of Alex Cross

Alex Cross

Blu-Ray
Cover of The Haunting in Connecticut 2

The Haunting in Connecticut 2

Cover of The Trip to Bountiful

The Trip to Bountiful

Cover of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

hoopla
Cover of Showing Roots

Showing Roots

Cover of The Women of Brewster Place

The Women of Brewster Place

Cover of Last Flag Flying

Last Flag Flying

Cover of In the Shadow of the Great White Way

In the Shadow of the Great White Way

Cover of How it Feels to be Free

How it Feels to be Free

Cover of Dark Girls

Dark Girls

Hoopla
Cover of Hollywood Black

Hollywood Black

Cover of African American Biographies

African American Biographies

Cover of Jewel Cover of Jewel

Jewel

hoopla Video

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