Ruby Dee, Oscar-nominated actress and civil rights activist, dies at 91

By Daniel S Levine,

Legendary actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee died on Wednesday. She was 91-years-old.

Nora Davis Day told the Associated Press Thursday that her mother died of natural causes Wednesday night at her New Rochelle, New York home.

“We have had her for so long and we loved her so much," Day told the AP. "She took her final bow last night at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren."

Dee was a legend on and off the stage, meeting her husband of 56 years, the late actor Ossie Davis, on Broadway in 1946. They frequently acted together until his death in 2005. The pair fought racism throughout their career and recalled their life together in the autobiography With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.

She was also a civil rights activist, speaking at the funerals for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

In addition to acting on the stage, she starred in Hollywood productions, like A Place in the Sun and No Way Out, both with Sidney Poitier. Her film career stretched all the way to Spike Lee, appearing in his iconic 1992 film Do The Right Thing.

She also appeared on television, winning an Emmy for Hallmark’s 1991 series Decoration Day.

However, she didn’t earn her first Oscar nomination until she was 83. She was recognized for her role as Denzel Washington’s mother in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster.

Dee never stopped working. Entertainment Weekly reports that she recently narrated Lifetime’s Betty and Coretta and appears in Ice-T’s upcoming King Dog.

Her long list of honors include the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 and the National Medal of the Arts in 1995. Dee is survived by three children - Nora, Hasna and Guy - and seven grandchildren.

image courtesy of ACE/INFphoto.com

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