Tyson has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 60 years. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1972’s “Sounder” and won Emmys for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” for best lead actress in a drama and actress of the year for “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow.” She won a Tony Award for “The Trip to Bountiful.”
In 2016, Tyson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Tyson has been a champion of civil liberties for decades and has been a recipient of top honors from the NAACP and the Kennedy Center.
“To fully appreciate the magnitude of the impact Cicely Tyson has had, listen to Angela Bassett, currently starring in ‘Black Panther,’ list the women who’ve influenced her most profoundly. Bassett names Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, two pioneering African-American members of Congress, along with an actress – Cicely Tyson,” said Ben Mankiewicz, TCM Primetime Host.
“For decades, Tyson has been at the forefront of a shift away from clichéd, stereotypical characters of color to playing multi-dimensional, strong black women,” he added. “Whether she’s playing a beleaguered mother-in-law on Broadway in ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ (and winning a Tony), or a woman who endures the black experience in America from slavery to civil rights in ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’ (and winning an Emmy), or the proud and resilient matriarch of a depression era Louisiana family in ‘Sounder’ (and earning an Oscar nomination), Cicely Tyson has set a standard of excellence for actresses of all backgrounds on the stage and screen.”
This marks the eighth consecutive year TCM has featured a hand and footprint ceremony at the Chinese Theatre. In 2012, Kim Novak was the honoree, followed by Jane Fonda in 2013, Jerry Lewis in 2014, Christopher Plummer in 2015, Francis Ford Coppola in 2016, and Carl and Rob Reiner in 2017.