Image above is from the upcoming film Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee.
This afternoon, we learned that legendary actress, Broadway performer, and Civil Rights activist Ruby Dee passed away on Wednesday night. She was 91 years old.
Ms. Ruby Dee was the widow of actor Ossie Davis, but kept the name of her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee. She was most famous for her role in the 1961 film adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun. She’s also made appearances in movies by directors Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. Along with the role in American Gangster cast as Frank Lucas’ mother, she was also the narrator of the 2013 TV Movie Betty and Coretta. She’s won a Grammy, an Emmy, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and was also awarded a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio, Ruby Dee was raised in Harlem and studied French and Spanish in college. She was also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Ruby Dee was a political activist, often working with the NAACP. She and Ossie Davis were both friends with Civil Rights legends Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Ossie eulogized Malcolm X’s funeral in 1965.
Ms. Ruby Dee was a breast cancer survivor for more than three decades. She passed away in her home in New Rochelle, NY, surrounded by her family.