Cicely Tyson is an American model and actress noted for her vivid portrayals of strong African American women. Tyson, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean island of Nevis, grew up in a devoutly religious household in Harlem. Discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling world. In 1957 she began acting in Off-Broadway productions, and the following decade she appeared in several short-lived Broadway shows. She won minor roles in a few feature films before portraying Portia in the 1968 film version of Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.