Want to read Cicely Tyson’s memoir ‘Just as I Am’? You’ll have to wait

Cicely Tyson's "Just as I Am."

Sales of legendary actress Cicely Tyson’s memoir, released two days before her death last week, have soared, with supply hardly keeping up with demand.

“Just as I Am” hit the No.1 spot on Amazon’s bestsellers list a day after the author’s death and remains temporarily out of stock on the site, as well as on websites for Barnes & Noble, Books A Million and other major book sellers. Merchants who do carry it are notifying buyers of shipping delays due to back orders.

By Wednesday, Tyson’s memoir had dropped to the No. 4 spot on Amazon, which is updated daily, but hit No. 1 on the New York Times’ Feb. 14 bestsellers list for hardcover nonfiction books. Tyson unseated President Barack Obama — who awarded her the National Medal of Freedom in 2016 — whose memoir “A Promised Land” had been at the top of the New York Times’ list for 10 weeks.


HarperCollins is into its fourth printing of “Just as I Am,” with 225,000 copies in print, a spokesman for the publishing giant told The Times.

Tyson spent more than 60 years using her platform not only to garner awards but to challenge stereotypes about what it means to be a Black woman in America.

Jan. 30, 2021

However, Tyson’s 432-page account of her life isn’t completely out of reach for those desperate to dive into her personal life. Readily available for download online are the e-book as well as the audiobook — narrated by Tyson, her “How to Get Away With Murder” costar Viola Davis and actress Robin Miles.

“‘Just as I Am’ is my truth,” the star said of the memoir before its release. “It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades.

“Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word,” Tyson added. “I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.”

The late Cicely Tyson spoke to the L.A. Times throughout the years about her trailblazing legacy. Here are some of her wise words from our archives.

Jan. 29, 2021

Tyson wrote the book with collaborator Michelle Burford, who has worked with a number of famous subjects, including Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton, Diane Guerrero, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and Paralympian Amy Purdy.

In the well-reviewed book, Tyson reveals secrets about her stormy marriage to musician Miles Davis and her lawsuit against screen titan Elizabeth Taylor as well as fun stories about her career, her godson Lenny Kravitz, and producer Tyler Perry‘s padding of her paychecks. Much of the book also deals with Hollywood prejudices and the racial and gender stereotyping she endured over her decades-long career.


Across decades, Cicely Tyson and Miles Davis were the epitome of a glamorous power couple. But behind the scenes, his drug abuse and philandering took its toll.

Feb. 1, 2021