‘She was the grandmother I never had’ – Tyler Perry pens emotional tribute to actress, Cicely Tyson
NEWSMAN, Abuja – Billionaire actor and producer Tyler Perry, has written a heartfelt tribute to the pioneering African-American actress and honorary Oscar winner, Cicely Tyson, who died Thursday aged 96.
Tyson and Perry, 51, worked together on several films beginning with 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman as well as Why Did I Get Married?, Madea’s Family Reunion and Why Did I Get Married too?
“I was sitting at the table working when I got this overwhelming feeling to watch Miss Jane Pittman. I hadn’t seen the movie in years. I didn’t even understand the feeling to turn it on, but I did anyway,” Perry wrote on Facebook.
“Not 12 minutes into the movie my phone rang. It was Oprah calling to tell me that Cicely had died. This one brought me to my knees! She was the grandmother I never had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup.
“My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next. To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy. She called me son. Well, today your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence.
“Always so regal, always so classy, always a lady, always a queen,” Perry added. “Every time we would talk I would ask, ‘How are you?’ and you would say, ‘I’m still here. He must have something he wants me to do.’ Well, I think it’s safe to say you have done all you were put here to do, and we are all better for it, ” Perry wrote.
Known best for Emmy-winning television movie “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and her Academy-nominated turn in 1972 film “Sounder,” Tyson’s acting career spanned seven decades and often tackled issues of racism and social justice.
“She’s a queen to us, Afro-Americans,” the actor and producer Tyler Perry said at the glitzy Hollywood ceremony.
“She had to work ten times harder to be paid a hundred times less” because she was a black woman, Perry added.
Her manager, Larry Thompson who announced the news of her death said in a statement said “I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” Thompson wrote, without further details of the cause of death.
Other celebrites like Viola Davis, Yara Shahidi, Oprah Winfrey, Debbie Allen and many more, also posted tributes, bidding farewell to the Hollywood titan.