Ruby Dee, Legendary Actress and Activist, Dies At 91

Iconic actress and playwright, Ruby Dee, has died at the age of 91. According to the Associated Press, the late actress passed away on Wednesday, June 11 at her home in New Rochelle, NY. She reportedly died of natural causes. The news of her death was confirmed early Thursday morning by her daughter, Nora Davis Day.

Dee, born Ruby Ann Wallace, was classified as one of the most notable African American actresses of the century. Throughout her 74-year career, Dee personified excellence, and is a prime example of progression and lifetime achievement. Dee has been casted in more than 50 films, 40 television series, 38 stage plays, a collection of short subjects.

She landed her first film role in 1949 when she starred in the musical, That Man of Mine. The film led to a number of other notable opportunities including the Jackie Robinson Story(1950), for which she received national recognition.

However, Dee is widely known for her work in the iconic 1961 film, A Raisin in the Sun, where she starred alongside notable actor Sidney Poitier, and the 2007 blockbuster film, American Gangster, with Denzel Washington. She also appeared in the highly lauded Alex Haley television mini-series, Roots.

The Cleveland-born, Harlem-raised actress was also the winner of an Emmy, a Grammy and a Screen Actors Guild award, among several other notable accolades. In addition to her work on the Broadway stage and big screen, Dee was also a highly respected political activist, alongside her late husband actor Ossie Davis, and an accomplished poet.

In 2005, she and her husband were honored with a National Civil Rights Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Freedom for their works of activism. On March 30, 2007 she was also inducted into the Westchester County Women’s Hall of Fame with notable public figures Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nita Lowey.

Her final film was the crime drama King Dog. The still-in production film also stars Ice-T, Coco Austin, and Akon.

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