NPR

'Just As I Am': Cicely Tyson Reflects On Her Long Career

In a memoir, Cicely Tyson recalls an improbable journey through a six-decade career. She says several roles "hurt me deeply because it happened simply because of the color of my skin and my sex."
Cicely Tyson says her mother did not want her to be an actress. "But in my gut, I knew there was something there that I was put here to do," Tyson says. Source: Cooper Neill

During a career spanning more than six decades, Cicely Tyson has brought to life iconic roles in theater, film and television — from Sounder to The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman to Roots to How to Get Away with Murder. They've offered previously unseen images of the sweep and humanity of Black life.

And now, in a new memoir, Just as I Am, she finally sets forth her improbable journey, from the typing pool at the Red Cross to award-winning actor and icon of style.

In an NPR interview, Tyson, 96, says she came to acting so that she "could speak through other people," after being naturally drawn to observing other people as a shy child.

As her career took off, several of the acting roles that she accepted "hurt me deeply because it happened simply because of the

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