In the foreword to Just As I Am, Cicely Tyson’s forthcoming autobiography, Viola Davis writes that Ms. Tyson “gifted me with a dream…She has engraved our narratives into the storybook of the world.”
The iconic actress—whose groundbreaking roles include Rebecca in Sounder, Binta in Roots, Sipsey in Fried Green Tomatoes, and the title character in the Autobiography of Jane Pittman, as well as Ophelia, in Viola Davis’s How to Get Away With Murder—chronicles her unlikely, remarkable life in a book readers of every generation will want to savor.
Just As I Am will be available January 26, 2021, via HarperCollins. Tyson—now 95 and the recipient of an honorary Oscar and the Presidential Medal of Freedom—writes in the introduction to the book that she wanted to share “how my tree, my story, first sprung into existence. How its roots, stretching far beneath the soil, have nourished and anchored me.”
It was taken in London by the photographer Lord Snowdon as part of the release of the film Sounder in the early 1970s. The celebrated lensman (whom The Crown fans will remember married Princess Margaret), was reportedly mesmerized by Ms. Tyson, and the pair went on to become close friends.
“Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside,” Ms. Tyson writes. “In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage for six decades…I stand amazed at this tree, this life.”
Readers, too, will be amazed by this essential, passionate, raw, revelatory account of a woman who refused to allow any obstacle thwart her quest for excellence—racism, misogyny, poverty, single motherhood—and today stands as one of the greatest actresses of all time.
Just As I Am is available now for preorder.