Acclaimed actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee has died. She was 91. Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio in 1922, Dee achieved a storied career in stage, radio, television and film which spanned for several decades. She was married to fellow actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005. Dee, a 30-year breast cancer survivor, died on June 11 at her home in New Rochelle, New York from natural causes.
Raised in Harlem, she got an early start in entertainment with appearance in numerous plays and received eight Emmy nominations with a win for her role in the 1990 TV film “Decoration Day.” Although she did not win her nomination for an Oscar for Best Support Actress for her portray as Mama Lucas in the biopic “American Gangster” starring Denzel Washington, Dee did win the Screen Actors Guild award for her performance.
Dee was first married in the mid-1940s to blues singer Frankie Dee. She married Ossie Davis three years later and from that marriage came three children: son Guy Davis, a blues musician and two daughters, Nora Day and Hasna Muhammad. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis wrote an autobiography together discussing their political activism and their open marriage.
Ruby Dee is survived by her three children and seven grandchildren.