Cicely Tyson Quotes

Cicely Tyson (1933 - )

Cicely Tyson from the movie 'The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman'
Cicely Tyson from the movie 'The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman'. John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images

Cicely Tyson, a stage and film actress, is known for roles in such projects as RootsThe Autobiography of Miss Jane PittmanSounder (which won her an Oscar nomination), Fried Green TomatoesThe HelpKing (in which she played Coretta Scott King), A Woman Called Moses (where she played Harriet Tubman), The Marva Collins StoryThe Women of Brewster Place and more.

Selected Quotes from Cicely Tyson

  1. Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch - what make you go beyond the norm.
  2. It is so very difficult for me to say which of the roles I've done is my favorite. It's like asking me which of three best friends is my favorite. I feel very close to each of these women because each afforded me an experience that allowed me tremendous growth.
  3. In my early years, there were a number of experiences that made me decide I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress. There were a number of issues I wanted to address. And I wanted to use my career as a platform.
  4. I am not a quitter. I will fight until I drop. It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in the universe, you have a chance.
  5. When I attack a role, be it TV, film or stage, the first thing I say is, I don't want to know anything. If it's good I don't want to hear it; if it's bad I don't want to hear it. The only thing either thing can do is distract me. I like to stay focused.
  6. I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there's nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.
  7. You never know what motivates you.
  8. In my work, people say I'm strong. But I'm not aware of any of it. If I were conscious of it, that can only get in the way of future performances.
  9. I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there's nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.
  10. One lady told me that before she saw 'Sounder' she didn't believe black people could love each other, have deep relationships in the same way as white people.
  11. I was in California when this journalist made a blanket statement about the fact that she did not think that black men and women had the kind of love relationship that Rebecca and Nathan had in Sounder.
  12. I've never encouraged anyone to go into this business. But I would never discourage  anybody either, because no one could discourage me.
  13. I don't condemn anyone for making their choices. If someone chooses those roles, fine.
    But not for me. When someone stops me and says, You're the reason I became an actress, that lets me know I made the right decision.
  14. When I told my mother that I wanted to be an actress, she said, you can't live here and do that, and so I moved out. I was determined to prove her wrong because she was so sure that I was going to go astray. And that's the juice that kept me going.
  15. We have to support our own films. If we don't, how can we expect others to support them?

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Cicely Tyson Quotes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2023, April 5). Cicely Tyson Quotes. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Cicely Tyson Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).