The Peabody Awards have bestowed its Career Achievement Award on stage and screen star Cicely Tyson for her work and commitment to broadcast and digital media that leave an impact on American culture.
Tyson made her Broadway debut as an understudy in 1959's Jolly's Progress, going on to perform in such shows as The Cool World, Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, and The Corn Is Green. After a 30-year hiatus from the New York stage, Tyson portrayed Carrie Watts in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, for which she received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. The star was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2018.
She earned two Emmy Awards for her performance as Jane in 1974's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (Best Lead Actress in a Drama as well as an unprecedented Special Emmy for Actress of the Year). She received her third Emmy for Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.
Most recently, the performer was seen on ABC's How to Get Away With Murder opposite Viola Davis, and on OWN's Cherish the Day. Her other credits include Mission Impossible, Roots, The Women of Brewster Place, A Lesson Before Dying, and Jewel. She received an Oscar nomination in 1972 for her role in Sounder and received an honorary Academy Award in 2018.
“With her award-winning performances, Tyson has taught us to champion a world of possibility for social justice, creativity, vitality, and joy,” said the Peabody Board of Jurors. “Through her career she has demonstrated the importance of imagining human freedom, the power of struggle, the grace of sacrifice, and the importance of witnessing in a nation desperate to reckon with itself. Her powerful command of her craft and her life-long dedication to make work that entertains and challenges helps us find our ethical and moral bearings, inviting us to ponder the qualities that make for an ethical and moral life.”
A video tribute highlighting her on-screen performances also included congratulatory messages from Davis, Oprah Winfrey, Regina King, and Katie Couric. Check it out below.