NEW YORK, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Completing an already exciting list of honorees including Queen Latifah, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, ESSENCE is excited to announce as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration Academy Award nominee Cicely Tyson as the recipient of the Legend Award at the third annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The event will take place during Oscar Week on Thursday, March 4, in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Cicely Tyson will join past ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Legend Award honorees Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll as pioneers who have paved the way and broken barriers for African-American actresses in Hollywood.
Star of television, film and stage, Cicely Tyson is a trailblazer for her portrayal of strong positive roles for African-American actresses. As a successful model turned actress, she has become one of America's most respected performers and has appeared with several of Hollywood's best: George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Cosby, Laurence Fishburne and Kathy Bates.
"Cicely Tyson is an icon who has transcended time with classic performances that have touched our hearts and made us proud," said ESSENCE editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray. "The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon will pay homage to the outstanding work and contributions of Ms. Tyson. She is a Legend because she continues in her craft with passion and integrity – an accomplishment to which we all aspire."
In 1972, Cicely Tyson received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed movie Sounder and won two Emmy Awards (Outstanding Lead Actress & Actress of the Year) for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman in 1974. Tyson's roles in films like Roots, King, A Woman Called Moses and The Marva Collins Story have all brought meaning and vision to real life American stories and have garnered several Emmy Awards for her lead and supporting roles. In 2005, Cicely Tyson joined the then budding Hollywood director Tyler Perry for his first feature film "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and again in 2006 for "Madea's Family Reunion" which are both adaptations of Perry's hit stage plays.
Ms. Tyson has used her career to not only entertain but as a platform to uplift and educate the African-American community. In 1995, the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts opened in East Orange, New Jersey, named in her honor. The school, which serves one of New Jersey's most underprivileged African-American communities, helps to teach and develop budding actors and artists.
Sponsors for the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon include presenting sponsor Lincoln, as well as partner sponsors COVERGIRL Queen Collection and MasterCard Worldwide. The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is also supported by Moet & Chandon.
About Essence Communications Inc.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the leading media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is "Where Black Women Come First". The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 40 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a readership of 8.1 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at essence.com.
SOURCE Essence Communications Inc.