Her family is confirming via release of a press statement this afternoon that stage and screen legend Ruby Dee died yesterday, Wednesday, June 11, in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91. This comes 9 years after Ossie Davis died, on February 4, 2005.
No other details are available at the moment, so please stay tuned... a fuller in memoriam post is coming.
But her death sadly happens a week before the definitive documentary on her life with the late Ossie Davis, "Life's Essentials with Ruby Dee," makes its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival, next week.
“To admire and speak highly of my grandparents is easy, but to apply their principles in my own life has proven less so. There is self-discovery in the vast space between what I look up to—their 56 year marriage, their socially conscious career choices, and their bravery in the struggle—and what I may be willing to practice,” said Davis and Dee's grandson Muta'Ali in a statement.
The film, which is the work of Davis and Dee's grandson Muta'Ali, is part tribute, part history lesson and part coming-of-age story, which delves into chapters of their lives that span the 20th and 21st centuries, and gives viewers an intimate look at the remarkable couple many consider Hollywood royalty.
Born Ruby Ann Wallace on October 27, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio, Dee's performing career spanned more than sixty years and included theater, radio, television, and movies. She and her husband raised three children and were active in organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Congress of Racial Equality, as well as supporters of civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
"You just try to do everything that comes up. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, make the time. Then you look back and say, ‘Well, that was a neat piece of juggling there—school, marriage, babies, career.’ The enthusiasms took me through the action, not the measuring of it or the reasonableness" - the actress and social activist's philosophy, as expressed in the anthology "I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America."