Maya Angelou: Poet, novelist and actress

Published 11:08 AM ET, Wed May 28, 2014
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Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, novelist and actress best known for her book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," has died at the age of 86, according to her literary agent, Helen Brann. Moneta Sleet Jr./Ebony Collection/AP
Angelou was also a professor, singer and dancer whose work spanned several generations. Here, she dances next to a fire in this promotional portrait taken for the cover of her first album, "Miss Calypso," in 1957. Gene Lester/Getty Images
Angelou poses with her book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in 1971. It was the first in a series of autobiographical books. staff/AP
From left, actress Betty Furness, educator Bettye Caldwell, Angelou, singer Kate Smith, first lady Betty Ford, Dr. Annie D. Wauneka and former Olympic diver Micki King pose for a photo during the taping of the television special "Woman of the Year 1976" in New York City. ap
Angelou acts in a scene from the television miniseries "Roots" in 1977. ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images
Angelou speaks during an interview at her home in 1978. Jack Sotomayor/New York Times Co./Getty Images
Angelou poses with U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and two other women who received the 1983 Matrix Award from the New York Chapter of Women in Communications. At the far left is Jane Bryant Quinn, contributing editor of Newsweek and Woman's Day. At the far right is Mary McGrory, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. AP
Angelou recites her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. Consolidated News Pictures/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Angelou works on the set of "Down in the Delta" in 1998. Angelou directed the film, which starred Alfre Woodard. Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection
Angelou receives an honorary doctorate from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, in 2008. Matthew Lofton/PRNewsFoto/Shenandoah University/AP
Angelou reads a poem during a 2008 ceremony to present South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the William J. Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
Clinton speaks to Angelou on stage at the the 2009 Women of the Year event hosted by Glamour magazine. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Glamour Magazine
Angelou laughs during her 82nd birthday party at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 2010. Steve Exum/Getty Images
Angelou and talk show host Oprah Winfrey laugh during the taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular" in 2011. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Angelou receives the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House in 2011. The Medal of Freedom is the country's highest civilian honor. Larry Downing/REUTERS/Landov