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Remembering the Award-winning Actress and Civil Rights Activist, Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee and Denzel Washington in the movie, American Gangster Photo Credit: Universal Pictures Ruby Dee and Denzel Washington in the movie, American Gangster


Actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights champion RUBY DEE, a trailblazer in her own right, transitioned on June 11, 2014. She was 91 years-old.

Ruby Dee was the recipient of many honors and awards. She's earned Emmy, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild, Obie, National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honor awards.

Ruby Dee played RACHEL ROBINSON, opposite the renowned baseball player JACKIE ROBINSON himself, in the 1950 movie, The Jackie Robinson Story. She starred opposite her husband, OSSIE DAVIS and actor SIDNEY POITIER, in the Broadway production of LORRAINE HANSBERRY'S A Raisin in the Sun; she also starred in the film version as well. Ruby Dee starred with her husband in many films including Sister in SPIKE LEE's Do the Right Thing in 1989, where she played the role of Mother Sister. Working well into her 80s, Ruby Dee acted opposite DENZEL WASHINGTON in 2007's American Gangster, a role in which she received an Oscar nomination.

RUBY DEE along with her husband, OSSIE DAVIS and MAYA ANGELOU were active participants in the civil rights struggle. They all were major players in the March on Washington in 1963. "Ossie and Ruby" continued their public demonstration activism for several decades later including protests against apartheid in South Africa. They were arrested in 1999 protesting the shooting death of AMADOU DIALLO, an unarmed African immigrant, who was shot 41 times by New York City police officers. They also spoke at both the funerals for MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. and MALCOLM X.

OSSIE DAVIS passed away in 2005, but in 1998, the husband and wife team released a dual autobiography, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.

Ruby Dee's influence on younger generations was felt at this year's Tony Awards. Six-time Tony Award-winning actress AUDRA MCDONALD and newly-minted Tony Award-winning director KENNY LEON both thanked Ruby Dee for blazing a path for them to follow.

RUBY DEE, your work carries on.