NYWIFT Blog

#Muse40for40: Cicely Tyson (1999)

We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!


#3: Cicely Tyson

By Natascha Bodemann

Born in Harlem in 1924, Academy Award winner, Golden Globe nominee, and three-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson was first discovered by a fashion photographer working for Ebony Magazine, and began her career as a fashion model. After stints on the celebrated television series East Side/West Side and the soap opera Guiding Light, she performed as part of the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s The Blacks, which became the the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade.

Tyson was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1972 for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in The Sounder, and two years later she won great acclaim for her performance in the 1974 television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, winning two Emmy Awards and a BAFTA nomination.

She has appeared in the renowned miniseries Roots, as Coretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries King, in the movies Fried Green Tomatoes, Hoodlum, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and more recently in the Oscar-winning film The Help and as the character Ophelia Harkness in How to Get Away with Murder, for which she received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Tyson won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, received an honorary Academy Award in 2019, and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

“We have to support our own films. If we don’t, how can we expect others to support them?” 

PUBLISHED BY

Natascha Bodemann

Natascha Bodemann Natascha Bodemann’s career has spanned production and promotion for film, television, and the arts. She co-produced the American independent film "Please Be Normal," an acclaimed psychological drama by Haik Kocharian starring Sam Waterston opposite his daughter Elisabeth Waterston and son-in-law Louis Cancelmi that was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. She has also produced and developed reality and documentary series for Bravo, TLC, and Discovery among other networks, as well as national television news. She recently completed her first screenplay, that she is currently in the process developing and producing. She has worked as Director of Public Relations for the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City, and as a publicist for foreign and independent films in the United States, representing a diverse roster of clients. Natascha began her career in film at The French Film Office / UniFrance USA, a French government office for the promotion of French cinema in the United States. There she directed publicity and communications, acted as a liaison between the French and American film industries, and produced Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the popular annual festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.

View all posts by Natascha Bodemann

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