(Angelique Jackson’s article appeared in Variety, 1/29; via Pam Green; Photo: Variety.)
Viola Davis, who starred opposite Tyson, playing mother and daughter for six seasons on “How to Get Away with Murder,” shared a lengthy tribute to the legend alongside a photo from the set.
“I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. I loved you so much!! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream,” Davis wrote in her caption. “Because it was only in my dreams that I could see the possibilities in myself. I’m not ready for you to be my angel yet. But…I also understand that it’s only when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that you’ll truly be dead. In that case, you will be immortal. Thank you for shifting my life. Thank you for the long talks. Thank you for loving me. Rest well.”
“How to Get Away with Murder” executive producer Shonda Rhimes also posted a salute to Tyson, captioning her photo: “She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever.”
Pete Nowalk, the show’s creator, said Ms. Tyson made him “feel like the greatest writer alive. “Ms. Tyson brought her entire soul to every moment on and off the screen. She made every word sing and your heart sang with her,” Nowalk wrote. “That’s how talented an actress and inspiring a human she was. My heart hurts for everyone who got to meet her, even if only for a moment. We were all so lucky to have been in the presence of such greatness.”
Tyson was nominated for five Emmys for her work on the Shondaland-produced series, with the final nod coming in 2020. But the actor’s career spanned nearly seven decades, and included winning turns in “Sounder” (for which she was nominated for an Oscar in 1973), “The Trip to Bountiful,” “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “Roots.”
LeVar Burton, who played Tyson’s on-screen son Kunta Kinte in the 1977 television epic, wrote: “This one cuts deep… Elegance, warmth, beauty, wisdom, style and abundant grace. She was as regal as they come. An artist of the highest order, I will love her forever…RIP”