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Actress and Activist Ruby Dee Dies At Age 91

Ruby Dee (1961)
Photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Legendary actress and activist Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, NY. She was 91.

Ms. Dee was a versatile performer easily being able to intermingle her acting talents between appearances on stage, screen and television. From 1940 until 2003 during her time as a stage actress Ms. Dee had nearly forty credits to her name, seven of which she wrote or adapted for the stage. During that time she met and married actor Ossie Davis with whom she acted along side throughout the rest of his career. Her many varied film and television credits range from roles in the films A Raisin In The Sun, Cat People, Jungle Fever and Up Tight! (a film on which she also served as a co-writer and producer) to guest starring on television series such as Evening Shade and The Golden Girls.

As an activist and an active member of the civil rights movement Ms. Dee championed the rights of African Americans both in the acting field and life in general. She and Mr. Davis were also friends and supporters of leading civil rights activists Malcolm X and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a result for their years of work in the field Ms. Dee was honored with the 2005 lifetime achievement award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

Ruby Dee was preceded in death by her husband Ossie Davis to whom she was married from 1948 until his death in 2005. She is survived by her children Nora, Hasna and Guy, seven grandchildren, and her sister Angelina Roach.

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