We’ve lost yet another Black legend. Iconic actress, activist, poet and screenwriter Ruby Dee passed away at 91 years old.
She was reportedly at home in New Rochelle, NY surrounded by family, who confirmed she died June 11, New York Daily News Reports. The family has declined to answer any further question pending the release of a formal statement.
Dee was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1922. During her rich life, she was an actress, poet, screenwriter and activist who won a plethora of awards for her work including a Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Her career began on Broadway where she made several appearances before receiving her first film role in 1949, in the musical drama “That Man of Mine.” She received national recognition for her role in the 1950 film The Jackie Robinson Story and gained acclaim in starring roles over the decades including the 1960s film “A Raisin in the Sun,” a host of Spike Lee movies, notably “Do The Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever,” and in more recent years “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington. Her final film, crime drama “King Dog” opposite Ice-T, is still-in-production.
Dee and her late husband Ossie Davis, who died February 4, 2005, not only collaborated together on-screen but were also active fighters in the Civil Rights movement, working alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
A private service will be held for family and friends to remember the star. A public memorial will be held at a later date.