(born December 19, 1933) An actress. A successful stage actress, Tyson is also known for her Oscar-nominated role in the film Sounder and the television movies The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots.
Tyson was born and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Theodosia, a domestic, and William Tyson, who worked as a carpenter, a painter, or any other jobs he could find.
A member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. On May 17, 2009, Tyson received an honorary degree from Morehouse College, an all-male college.
In 2010, she was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
She was discovered or found by a photographer for Ebony magazine and became a popular fashion model. Her first credited film role was in Carib Gold in 1956, but she went on to do television such as the celebrated series East Side/West Side and the soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1961, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s The Blacks, the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. She appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) and starred in the film version of Graham Greene’s The Comedians (1967). Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and was in a segment of the movie Roots.
Tyson as Jane Pittman, 1974.
The handprints of Cicely Tyson in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed Sounder. In 1974, she won two Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
Sir Sidney Poitier
Born February 20, 1927) actor, film director, author, and diplomat.
In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three successful films: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, making him the top box-office star of that year. In all three films, issues revolve around the race of the characters Poitier portrays. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.
Poitier has directed a number of popular movies, such as A Piece of the Action, Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby) and Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). In 2002, thirty-eight years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, designated “To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”Since 1997, he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.
Dorothy Jean Dandridge
(November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an actress and singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.
After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan’s Peril (starring Lex Barker), in 1951. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in a low-budget film with a nearly all-black cast, Bright Road, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
In 1954, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones, and in 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. In 1999, she was the subject of the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry as Dandridge. She has been recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Dandridge was married and divorced twice, first to dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas (the father of her daughter, Harolyn Suzanne) and then to Jack Denison. She died at age 42.
James Earl Jones
Born January 17, 1931, an actor who in a career of over 50 years has become known as “one of America’s most distinguished and versatile” and “one of the greatest actors in American history.” Since his Broadway debut in 1957, Jones has won several awards, including a Tony Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in The Great White Hope. He is also known for his voice acting role as Darth Vader as well as many film, stage, and television roles.
As a child Jones overcame a stutter that lasted for several years. A pre-med major in college, he went on to serve as an Army Ranger during the Korean War, before dedicating his career to acting.
On November 12, 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award.
(born March 26, 1944) a vocalist, recording artist, actress, and African-superstar-diva-legend. Ross has a soprano vocal range.
Ross first rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that has included successful ventures into film and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), for which she won a Golden Globe award; making her the first African-American woman to achieve such a feat. She has won seven American Music Awards, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, in 1977.
In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the “Female Entertainer of the Century.” In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles. Diana Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes alongside Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.
Ross is one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one as a solo artist and the other as a member of The Supremes. In December 2007, she received the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012, Diana was finally honored by NARAS with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in her 50th year in the music business.
Paul Edward Winfield
(May 22, 1939 – March 7, 2004), a television, film, and stage actor.
He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Winfield portrayed Captain Terrell of the Starship Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and he also portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.