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Modern Matinees: Cicely Tyson

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and the MoMA Stores in New York City have closed temporarily. 

Harlem-born actor Cicely Tyson (1924–) has been shifting nimbly between stage, television, and film since the early 1950s. Her first film role was in the 1957 sea adventure Carib Gold, which also featured the veteran American performer Ethel Waters. Tyson also appeared in the original cast of The Blacks (1961), written by Jean Genet, which became the longest-running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, and that same year she appeared on the television show Frontiers of Faith. While Tyson’s striking looks landed her in Ebony magazine, her instinctive acting prowess led to more roles on the New York stage, and, in 1966, to the legendary soap opera Guiding Light, on which she joined Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, and Billy Dee Williams among the first African Americans to star on a daytime television series


Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art. 


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Sounder. 1972. USA. Directed by Martin Ritt. Courtesy Photofest

A Man Called Adam. 1966. USA. Directed by Leo Penn. Courtesy Everett Collection

A Woman Called Moses. 1978. USA. Directed by Paul Wendkos. Courtesy Photofest

Alex Cross. 2012. USA. Directed by Rob Cohen. Courtesy Photofest

Because of Winn-Dixie. 2005. USA. Directed by Wayne Wang. Courtesy Photofest

Carib Gold. 1957. USA. Directed by Harold Young.

Fried Green Tomatoes. 1991. USA. Directed by Jon Avnet. Courtesy Photofest

Hoodlum. 1997. USA. Directed by Bill Duke. Courtesy Photofest

Idlewild. 2006. USA. Written and directed by Bryan Barber. Courtesy Everett Collection

Last Flag Flying. 2017. USA. Directed by Richard Linklater. Courtesy Amazon Studios

Madea’s Family Reunion. 2006. USA. Written and directed by Tyler Perry. Courtesy Everett Collection

Bustin’ Loose. 1981. USA. Directed by Oz Scott. Courtesy Photofest

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. 1974. USA. Directed by John Korty. Courtesy Photofest

The Blue Bird. 1976. USA/USSR. Directed by George Cukor. Courtesy Photofest

The Help. 2011. USA. Written and directed by Tate Taylor. Courtesy Photofest

The Trip to Bountiful. 2014. USA. Directed by Michael Wilson. Courtesy Everett Collection