Why We Love Ruby Dee and Will Miss Her — Groundbreaking Actress and Civil Rights Activist Dies At Age 91

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Shorts

Ruby Dee Dies

New Rochelle, NY — Ruby Dee, a well-respected actress and civil rights activist, has died at the age of 91. Her career spanned stage, radio, television and film, and she was also known for her active role in helping promote the cause of blacks in the entertainment industry. Her surviving daughter commented, “We have had her for so long and we loved her so much. She took her final bow last night at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren.”

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but raised in Harlem, New York, Dee, who was married for 56 years to actor Ossie Davis, starred in several projects alongside her husband. The two were even arrested in 1999 for protesting the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant in New York City. They were also known to be close friends with baseball star Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel. 

Her husband died back in 2005.

Dee was best known for her 1961 role in “A Raisin in the Sun” with Sidney Poitier, but she also starred as a leading cast member in the soap operas in the 1950s and ’60s. She also played Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” alongside her husband, and in 1990, she won an Emmy as supporting actress in the “Decoration Day” mini-series. Her last role was in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” in which she played the mother of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington’s character) and was nominated for the best supporting actress award.

Dee will be missed by her many friends, family and fans from all over the world.

Filmmaker Spike Lee, who cast both Dee and her husband Davis in several of his movies, said on Instagram: “I’m crushed by this bad news and I know Ruby has already been embraced in a warm loving hug from her life partner of 57 years — Mr. Ossie Davis.”

Al Roker posted on Twitter: “Another legend has left us. God Bless. Ruby Dee died peacefully at home of age related causes. She was 91 years old.”


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