Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

R.I.P. Oscar-Nominated Star & Civil Rights Activist Ruby Dee (1922-2014)

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 12, 2014 at 2:37PM

Sad news arrived today, with word from her family that the great Ruby Dee, an actress who won almost every award you can win while making an enormous impact on the world beyond her art, has passed away at the age of 91. But while it's sad, it's also a fine chance to celebrate the life of a truly remarkable woman.
1
Ruby Dee

Sad news arrived today, with word from her family that the great Ruby Dee, an actress who won almost every award you can win while making an enormous impact on the world beyond her art, has passed away at the age of 91. But while it's sad, it's also a fine chance to celebrate the life of a truly remarkable woman.

Dee was born as Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland in 1922, and graduated from Hunter College in 1944. She married singer Frankie Dee in her mid-20s, and quickly divorced, with Dee going on to marry actor Ossie Davis in 1948, the pair staying together until his death in 2005. She became quickly established on Broadway before breaking through in film as playing the title character's wife in 1950's "The Jackie Robinson Story," a biopic of the legendary baseball player in which Robinson played himself.

She remained a stage fixture, but took on one of her most notable roles in 1959 with the debut of Lorraine Hansberry's classic play "A Raisin In The Sun," playing Ruth, the wife of main character Walter (played by Sidney Poitier) .The pair reprised their roles in the 1961 film version, Dee winning the National Board of Review prize for Best Supporting Actress for it. She would also reunited with Poitier on "Buck And The Preacher," and also worked regularly with Davis, notably in the 1980s and 1990s on Spike Lee's seminal "Do The Right Thing" and "Jungle Fever."

Though she retired from the stage in 2003, she continued to work on film and television up until last year, and finally picked up an Oscar nomination, and winning the SAG Prize, for her supporting turn in Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" (Dee also picked up Grammy, Emmy, Obie and Drama Desk awards across her long career, as well as the National Medal For The Arts. And perhaps more importantly than anything, she was, along with Davis, intimately involved in the civil rights movement: the pair were personal friends of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award in 2005.

It's a titanic loss, and she'll be sorely missed. They're survived by their three children, one of whom is blues musician Guy Davis.


This article is related to: Ruby Dee


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.

E-Mail Updates