Honoring Cicely Tyson: Zendaya, Gabrielle Union, and More Pay Tribute to the Iconic Actor

Legendary actor Cicely Tyson, known for her pioneering work in acclaimed projects like Roots and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, died on Thursday, January 28. She was 96. 

“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 to Variety. “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.” (Her memoir Just As I Am was published earlier this week.) 

Cicely Tyson in 1976Jack Mitchell

Throughout her six-plus decades in Hollywood, Tyson was a trailblazing and influential force. Her many accomplishments include being the first Black woman to win a lead actress Emmy award (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman). She’s also a Tony award winner (for a revival of The Trip to Bountiful), an Honorary Oscar winner, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. 

Soon after her death was announced, Hollywood’s most notable names took to Twitter to honor Tyson and the indelible impact she has left. 

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

“Greatness incarnate,” wrote Rosario Dawson. “I’m so grateful I got to see her perform live… Thank you dear Cicely for shining so bright and full every day for us all.” 

Gabby Sidibe shared a link to Tyson’s memoir with the caption, “There’s probably no better a way to honor Cicely Tyson, than by learning her story.” 

“Incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Cicely Tyson. She was a true icon in many ways,” Robin Roberts wrote alongside of a picture of herself with the actor. “Whenever you were graced to be in her presence it was an unforgettable blessing. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones.” 

See more moving tributes to Tyson, below.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, the movie that made Tyson a household name in 1974, is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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