August 5, 2022
Photo by: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic
In a cover story interview with AARP The Magazine for its August and September editions, the award-winning director disclosed that he had paid Tyson, who passed away at age 96 last year, “a million dollars” for a single day of work on his 2007 film Why Did I Get Married?
“This woman had done so many amazing things, but she wasn’t well compensated for it,” Perry stated. “She made $6,000 for Sounder, you know? I wanted to make sure she knew that there were people who valued her.”
“So, she did one day of work on my 2007 film Why Did I Get Married? and I paid her a million dollars,” he added. “I loved working with her. And it makes me feel great that I was in a position to give this incredible woman some security in her later years.”
Perry is renowned for ensuring that Black creatives have equal access to opportunities.
Henson went on record to confirm that Perry was the first to pay her what she was worth.
“I was asking for half a million,” Henson said. “I didn’t get paid that until I did my first Tyler Perry film. He was the first person who paid me $500,000.”
Tyson began her career in acting in the early 1950s.
The media mogul wrote an emotional message at the time of her passing to honor her legacy and remember their time spent together. He revealed that Oprah Winfrey had contacted him to break the news.
“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. To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy,” the filmmaker wrote.
With over 60 years of experience in Hollywood, Tyson had more than 95 credits to her name. The 96-year-old became a household name through the many portrayals of many independent, strong Black women.
We thank the late Cicely Tyson for her trailblazing work and honor her legacy.