MEMORIAM

Actor, comedian Scoey Mitchlll 

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Scoey Mitchlll

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Comedian, actor, writer and television director Scoey Mitchlll has died, one week after his 92nd birthday, his family announced March 21.


Born Roscoe Mitchell Jr. on March 12, 1930, Mitchlll appeared on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Joey Bishop Show," such game shows as "Match Game," "Tattletales" and "The Hollywood Squares."

 

Mitchlll had a recurring role on the CBS comedy "Rhoda" from 1974-76 and portrayed the father of Richard Pryor's character in the 1986 film,"

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling."

Mitchlll starred on ABC's short-lived adaptation of the Neil Simon play, "Barefoot in the Park," the first series to have a predominantly Black cast since "Amos 'n' Andy" ended its run in the mid-1950s.


According to his brother, jazz pianist Billy Mitchell, Mitchlll "was fired due to `differences of opinion' with the series' producers. What is rarely mentioned is that these differences were rooted in Scoey's attempt to get more Blacks in jobs behind the camera and as script writers."


Rather than recast the role, ABC canceled the low-rated series after 12 episodes.


Mitchlll's other television acting credits included the original "The Odd Couple," "The Six Million Dollar Ma" and "Baretta." Mitchlll was also a writer and director for the 1986-87 NBC comedy, "Me & Mrs. C." and directed episodes of the 1989-90 NBC comedy "13 East."


In addition to his brother, Mitchlll, who died March 19, is survived by his sister Mary Warren.

Cicely Tyson, groundbreaking icon, cinematic star

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Cicely Tyson

Film, theatre, television icon lauded for work spanning seven decades

LOS ANGELES—Groundbreaking actress Cicely Tyson, who cinematic career spanned more than seven decades, and which opened the doors for many Black women and men in Hollywood to follow, died Jan. 28, 2021. She was 96. Tyson was the recipient of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award.

Having appeared in minor film and television roles early in her career, Tyson garnered widespread attention and critical acclaim for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1972); she was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in the film. Tyson's portrayal of the title role in the 1974 television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman won her further acclaim; among other accolades, the role won her two Emmy Awards and a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Tyson continued to act in film and on television in the 21st century. In 2011, she played the role of Constantine Jefferson in the award-winning film The Help. She also played the role of Ophelia Harkness in American Broadcasting Company’s legal drama How to Get Away With Murder since the show's inception in 2014, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, five times.

In addition to her screen career, Tyson appeared in various theater productions. She received a Drama Desk Award in 1962 for her Off-Broadway performance in Moon on a Rainbow Shawl. Tyson also starred as Carrie Watts in the Broadway play The Trip to Bountiful, winning the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Award, and the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2013. Tyson was named a Kennedy Center honoree in 2015. In November 2016, Tyson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 2020, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Tyson was born in Harlem on Dec. 19, 1924, the daughter of Frederica Tyson, a domestic worker, and William Augustine Tyson, who worked as a carpenter, painter, and at any other jobs he could find. Her parents were immigrants from Nevis in the West Indies.