A force both onscreen and off, Cicely Tyson blazed a trail of her own, lighting the way with elegance, grace, style, class and dignity at every turn. Now, as the icon is laid to rest, Variety reports that the family of the late actress, who died on January 28 at the age of 96, will hold an official public viewing on Monday, February 15 in New York City’s Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Originally gaining her start as a model, it was when Tyson made the transition into acting that her true passions would ignite and blossom in a way most would only dream of. An Emmy, Tony and honorary Academy Award-winning actress, Tyson amassed several accolades over the course of her career, appearing in culturally impactful Broadway musicals, movies and television shows such as The Blacks, A Man Called Adam, Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, The Help, and How To Get Away With Murder. In 2016, Miss Tyson was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
The 44th President spoke on Tyson’s passing in a heartfelt post on social media, writing:
When Cicely Tyson was born, doctors predicted she wouldn’t make it three months because of a murmur in her heart. What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t know, was that Cicely had a heart unlike any other — the kind that would not only beat for 96 more years but leave a mark on the world that few could match. In her extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson was one of the rare award-winning actors whose work on the screen was surpassed only by what she was able to accomplish off of it.
Hollywood. When she was a child, her mother — a hardworking and religious woman who cleaned houses — didn’t even let her go to the movies. But once Cicely got her education, she made a conscious decision not just to say her lines but to speak her truth.
He added, “ Michelle and I were honored when Cicely came to the White House to accept the Medal of Freedom, knowing she was one of the many giants upon whose shoulders we stood — a trailblazer whose legacy couldn’t be measured by her Emmys and Tony and Oscar alone, but by the barriers she broke and the dreams she made possible. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to every member of Cicely’s family and to all of those who loved her. And while we are saddened that her heart finally came to a rest today, there is comfort in knowing that she will always live on in ours.”
Tyson’s viewing will take place at Abyssinian from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on February 15. Those who wish to attend are expected to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, as masks and social distancing will be enforced. There will be no photographs allowed.