Hollywood Mourns Cicely Tyson: ‘One of Those Legends You’d Hoped We Would Have Forever’

Cicely Tyson’s co-stars and admirers shared their remembrances of the late Emmy and Tony-winning actor, who died Thursday at 96.

Shonda Rhimes took to social media to pay tribute to the legend, who most recently starred on “How to Get Away with Murder,” sharing a photo of the pair with the caption: “She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever.”

Tyson was nominated for five Emmys for her work on the Shondaland-produced series, with the final nod coming in 2020. But the actor’s career spanned nearly seven decades, and included winning turns in “Sounder” (for which she was nominated for an Oscar in 1973), “The Trip to Bountiful,” “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” “Roots.”

LeVar Burton, who played Tyson’s on-screen son Kunta Kinte in the 1977 television epic “Roots,” wrote: “This one cuts deep. [Cicely Tyson] was my first screen Mom.. Elegance, warmth, beauty, wisdom, style and abundant grace. She was as regal as they come. An artist of the highest order, I will love her forever…RIP”

Tyson also influenced some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Viola Davis, Kerry Washington and Tyler Perry.

Gabrielle Union summed up Tyson’s legacy and influence, writing, “We have lost a visionary, a leader, a lover, an author, an ICON, and one of the most talented actresses the world has ever seen. A life, a career, a fire to celebrated forevermore!”

In her message of remembrance, Zendaya wrote,This one hurts, today we honor and celebrate the life of one of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you Cicely Tyson. Rest in great power.”

Earlier this week, Tyson released her memoir “Just As I Am,” sharing personal and professional stories from her Hollywood journey.

“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins posted a photo of Tyson’s memoir, with the caption: “This has been on the table all week. It just came this week. In power. Eternally.”

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement confirming news of Tyson’s passing. “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.”

“This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson, wrote “Way Maker. Legend. What a mighty life,” alongside a photo of Tyson, while “Mixed-ish” star Tika Sumpter posted, “Legend. Rest in Paradise Queen. Thank you for kicking doors down for girls like me.” 

“Cicely Tyson is one of those legends you’d hoped we would have forever. And you knew it was a silly dream but you dreamt it anyway,” Robin Thede wrote. “This day is hard for so many reasons. This is a massive loss. Thank you for your gifts, queen.

The Academy, which awarded Tyson with an Honorary Oscar in 2019, posted a photo of Tyson from the ceremony, writing: Early in her career, Cicely Tyson promised herself that she would only portray strong women. Harriet Tubman. Coretta Scott King. Miss Jane Pittman, and so many others … she led by example and will be missed.”

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