Fast Facts

  • Worked as a typist after high school.
  • Became one of the top U.S. black models in the late 1950s, appearing on the covers of such magazines as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.  
  • Appeared as Jane Foster in the acclaimed East Side/West Side in 1963; it was the first drama series to feature a black woman in a recurring role. 
  • Refused to appear in blaxploitation films despite their popularity in the 1970s. 
  • Cofounder of the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Had an East Orange, N.J., performing and fine arts school named in her honor in 1995.
  • Was honored at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball in 2005.
  • In 2009, she received an honorary degree from Morehouse College, an all-male college. 
  • Appeared in Willow Smith's video for the song "21st Century Girl" in 2011.
  • Is an activist for raising awareness to prevent strokes.
  • Is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Awards

  • 1972, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1974, Emmy — Best Lead Actress in Drama: Winner
  • 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1973, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 1982, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special: Nominee
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 1974, Emmy — Actress of the Year - Special: Winner
  • 1977, Emmy — Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1974, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress: Nominee
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 2014, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series: Nominee
  • 2011, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 1994, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Television Movie: Nominee
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Winner
  • 2013, Tony — Actress (Play): Winner

Relationships

  • Theodosia Tyson — Mother
  • William Tyson — Father
  • Miles Davis — Ex-husband

College

  • Attended New York University, New York, NY

Details

  • Birth Place: New York, NY
  • Birthday: December 19, 2015, Sagittarius
  • Profession: Actor, Model
  • User Rating:4.07 out of 5 (144 ratings)
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