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Cicely Tyson from 'Sounder,' 'How to Get Away with Murder' dead at 96

Actress Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96. File Photo by Gregg DeGuire/UPI
Actress Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96. File Photo by Gregg DeGuire/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Actress Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96, her manager announced Thursday.

"I have managed Miss Tyson's career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing," manager Larry Thompson said in a statement.

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"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."

The cause and circumstances of her death were not disclosed.

Tyson is best known for her roles in Twelve Angry Men, Odds Against Tomorrow, The Comedians, A Man Called Adam, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots and The Women of Brewster Place.

Her credits also included The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Trip to Bountiful, Bustin' Loose, Fried Green Tomatoes, Hoodlum and Madam Secretary.

In recent years, she was a frequent collaborator of actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry. They worked together on Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married Too? and Alex Cross.

In addition to earning three Emmys, a Tony and SAG Award, she was presented with an honorary Oscar in 2018 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Tyson's book, Just as I Am: A Memoir, was published this week.

Viola Davis, who acted alongside Tyson in The Help and How to Get Away with Murder, took to Instagram Thursday to express her love and grief.

"I'm devastated. My heart is just broken," Davis captioned a photo of her hugging the older actress.

"I loved you so much!! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream....because it was only in my dreams that I could see the possibilities in myself. I'm not ready for you to be my angel yet. But...I also understand that it's only when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that you'll truly be dead. In that case, you will be immortal. Thank you for shifting my life. Thank you for the long talks. Thank you for loving me. Rest well."

Notable deaths of 2021

Jim Fassel
New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel watches the Detroit Lions defeat his team, the New York Giants, at in East Rutherford, N.J., on November 19, 2000. The former Super Bowl-winning coach died on June 8 at the age of 71. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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