Cicely Tyson died on Jan. 28, 2021. When she died, the actor left behind a legacy of TV shows and films, including Sounder, Roots, and The Help. Just two days before her death, she released her memoir, Just As I Am.

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Actor Kimberly Elise was one of the stars who paid tribute to Tyson in January. For years, fans of the entertainers have wondered about the nature of their relationship.



Kimberly Elise and Cicely Tyson|E. Charbonneau/WireImage for LIONSGATE

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Years after the film came out, fans of both Tyson and Elise inquired about their relationship. Their portrayal as mother and daughter sparked speculation that the actors are real-life mother and daughter. According to Black America Web, movie lovers pointed out their resemblance in February 2021. Many also suggested that the John Q star play Tyson in a biopic of the actor. 

While Tyson supported Elise and her career after their time together on Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the two don’t have a biological connection. In her memoir, the Fried Green Tomatoes opened up about her only child, a daughter she referred to as “Joan.” Tyson gave birth to her daughter at 18 during her marriage to Kenneth Franklin.

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“Joan felt, as a child, that she had to share me with the world,” she wrote. “I give her now, in adulthood, what my heart has always longed to bestow — my undivided focus, along with the full measure of her privacy.”

Did Kimberly Elise attend Cicely Tyson’s funeral?

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Following Tyson’s death, many of her colleagues paid tribute to the actor via Twitter. Several artists such as Rihanna referred to the Neighbors actor as a “legend” as they watched her from afar. However, those who knew Tyson personally, like Perry, mourned the woman who felt like his family member.

“She was the grandmother I never had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup. My heart breaks in one beat while celebrating her life in the next,” he wrote on Instagram. “She called me son. Well, today, your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, Tyson’s funeral took place at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. According to USA Today, Perry, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Lenny Kravitz attended the event. While it’s unclear if Elise made an appearance, thousands of people reportedly gathered from across the country to honor Tyson.