Cicely Tyson in a rare videotaped feature courtesy of “CBC This Morning” earlier this week, and is now available online.
The profile was done in conjunction with her Kennedy Center Honor celebration for her contributions to American culture, paving the way for African Americans in the industry.
“You know, I say no to everything first,” Tyson said, speaking to “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King in her old Harlem neighborhood. “I say no to everything because I always want to make sure that when I say yes, I know what I’m getting myself into.”
A career that spans 6 decades, making her film acting debut in 1956’s “Carib Gold,” Tyson has been particular about the roles she plays, and when asked about her process, she replied: “Either my skin tingles or my stomach churns… It’s very simple. If it’s something that I feel nauseated about, I know that I can’t possibly do that. If I can’t keep still and I get up and I’m walking around and I get to thinking, ‘I know that that’s something I can handle.'”
Almost 60 years later, many memorable performances, and multiple awards for her work on the stage and screen, and a school named after her (Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts), the legend is certainly not slowing down.
“Age is a number, okay? We have the greatest gift that we could possibly ever have… And it’s this temple, okay?” Tyson said, laughing. “And if you take care of it, it will serve you well. I’ve never been a person who drank, who smokes, who did drugs. Never. Because I love life.”
She talks about all of that, and more, including her relationship with jazz great Miles Davis, who put her on the cover of his 1967 album, “Sorcerer.” The two married in 1981 but divorced less than seven years later.
“I don’t really talk about it, but I will say this – I cherish every single moment that I had with him,” Tyson said.
Watch the full profile below: