Just one day before the world found out it had lost another legend, the great Cicely Tyson gave her final interview on Live With Kelly and Ryan. Promoting her new memoir, Just As I Am, the actress recounted stories from her earliest days and proudest moments. As a baby, she says, a stranger told her mother she had a “sixth sense” and was “going to make you very proud one day.” “I never thought that I would be nominated for an Oscar, but I used to watch the event every year,” she told the hosts. “One night, I watched it and I said, ‘I’m going to sit in that front row one day.’ And I ended up doing that for the role of Rebecca in Sounder.” Tyson made her career portraying Black women with strength and humanity in films like The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and shows like How to Get Away with Murder. “I have been an actress my whole career who’s never been paid any money because I never really worked for money,” she explained. “I’ve worked because there were certain issues that I wish were addressed about myself and my race as a Black woman.”
Cicely Tyson died Thursday, January 28, at 96 years old. Her lifetime of accomplishments include a Kennedy Center Honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, three Primetime Emmys, a Tony, an Oscar, and inspiring a generation of Black actors. Take in her final interview above.