Ruby Dee, one of the most prolific black actresses in Hollywood and Broadway, passed away Wednesday night (June 11) at her New Rochelle home in New York, surrounded by loved ones. She died peacefully caused by age-related problems, her rep told TheWrap. She was 91.
Dee, known as an idol and pioneer for many black actors and actresses today, played several notable roles, specifically in Spike Lee movies like Jungle Fever and Do The Right Thing. She was best known for starring in the 1960 production of A Raisin In The Sun. Her most recent role came in American Gangster, where she played the mother of Denzel Washington’s character.
Her talents weren’t only limited to acting as she was also a noteworthy screenwriter and poet. Her accolades include winning a Grammy (2007 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together), an Emmy (1991 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries for Decoration Day) and the National Medal of Arts in 1995.
She was also a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement and served as a masters of ceremony for the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
Dee was married to actor and activist Ossie Davis, who passed away in 2005. They had three children: son Guy Davis, and daughters Nora Day and Hasna Muhammad.