Weeks before her death at age 96, Cicely Tyson spoke to InStyle for the magazine’s upcoming March issue. But the mag released the piece early online after Tyson passed away Thursday.
She recalled to the publication that in the mid-’50s when she first wanted to pursue acting, “my mother didn’t like that idea. She told me if I was going to do that, I had to leave her house. And so I did.”
Tyson moved in with a friend who had a job and borrowed the pal’s clothes to go on auditions.
“After I moved out, my mother didn’t speak to me for years. She was concerned that I was going to live a life of sin — that’s what she thought show business was all about,” Tyson said. “But I was always determined to prove her wrong. And so my mother became my greatest source of drive in life. I thought, ‘I’ll show her!’”
Tyson went on to win two Emmys, a Tony and an honorary Oscar over her iconic career.
She told InStyle that, “In many ways, I’m only now beginning to explore my own identity. I have a performing-arts school in East Orange, N.J., and not that long ago I was speaking to a group of children there. A young girl about 13 years old said to me, ‘Ms. Tyson, now that you’ve made it, what are you going to do next?’”
Laughing as she recalled the anecdote to the mag, Tyson added, “I said, ‘Sweetheart, let me tell you something. The day I feel that I have made it, I am finished.’ I hope I never, ever feel that way.”