On Tuesday, Cicely Tyson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance for Women in Media at its 40th annual Gracies Awards, but even at the age of 90, the actress says she’s not done.
“I actually feel like I have not really achieved that much,” Tyson told the Associated Press. “So I look at it as just encouragement to keep going.”
Tyson’s career has spanned 60 years, and she reminisced on her younger days and performing with her siblings at home.
“As a child, my father taught the three of us—he had a boy and two girls—to sing. So we sang and were always performing in church. I never thought of it as anything special. Except once, when my sister and I were supposed to perform together. She didn’t want to go because she didn’t like the song that was chosen for us to sing. So I went by myself, and it ended up that they put me on a chair and they lifted the chair into the air and they marched all around the church with me on it. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mother and my sister and my father. I never forgot that moment,” Tyson said.
During the span of Tyson’s career, she has won a Tony and an Emmy and been nominated for an Academy Award. This fall, Tyson is heading back to Broadway and reuniting with James Earl Jones in The Gin Game.
So, what exactly attracts Tyson to a role? Let’s just say she follows her body’s signals.
“Well, either my skin tingles or my stomach churns. I’ve said that from the beginning of my career. It happens when I read a script. When I read a script, either my skin tingles or my stomach churns. If my stomach churns, I know it’s not for me. When my skin tingles, I can’t wait. It’s that simple with me,” said Tyson.
Tyson said she doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, and I’m quite sure her longtime fans wouldn’t want her to.