Nation & World News

Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dies At 91

By Scott Neuman on June 12th, 2014

Editors’ Note: An earlier version of this post, as well as an accompanying breaking news alert, incorrectly stated that Ruby Dee had won an Oscar for her role in American Gangster. Dee was nominated for the award but did not win.

Ruby Dee, an actress and civil rights activist who built a career on stage and screen at a time when African-Americans had few such opportunities, has died at age 91.

Cleveland-born Dee, who was married for 56 years to fellow actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005, also won an Emmy and was nominated for several others, The Associated Press reports.

Perhaps Dee’s best-known role was as Ruth Younger, the weary wife and mother in the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun. She starred alongside Sidney Poitier. Dee was also nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for the 2007 film American Gangster.

NPR’s Elizabeth Blair reports that Dee, whose career spanned 70 years, “was known for a graceful intensity on screen and stage.”

The New York Daily News writes:

“In 2005, Dee and Davis received the National Civil Rights Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Freedom award. Davis died in February of that year.

“Dee’s first film role came in 1949, in the musical drama That Man of Mine. She played Rachel Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story in 1950, and costarred opposite Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt and Cab Calloway in St. Louis Blues (1958).”

“Beyond her artistic work, Dee is best known for her work as an activist. She was long a member of such organizations as the Congress of Racial Equality, the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She and Davis were personal friends of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, whose eulogy Davis gave in 1965, two years after Dee gave a stirring reading at King’s March on Washington.”

Blair says the couple were leaders in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963 and actively promoted the works of fellow Black artists.

The AP says:

“Since meeting on Broadway in 1946, she and her late husband were frequent collaborators. Their partnership rivaled the achievements of other celebrated performing couples, such as Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

“But they were more than a performing couple. They were also activists who fought for civil rights, particularly for blacks.

” ‘We used the arts as part of our struggle,’ she said at an appearance in Jackson, Miss., in 2006. ‘Ossie said he knew he had to conduct himself differently with skill and thought.’ ”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday.

NATO To Create New ‘Spearhead’ Force For Eastern Europe

NATO leaders are expected this week to set up a rapid-response force to defend against potential Russian aggression.


Kenneth Bae, an American tour guide and missionary serving a 15-year sentence in North Korea, speaks to The Associated Press on Monday. Bae and two other detained Americans urged the U.S. to send a high-level emissary to secure their release.

3 Americans Detained In North Korea Urge U.S. To Secure Their Release

The State Department said the men should be released out of humanitarian concern and asked that Kenneth Bae, who has been held for two years, be granted amnesty.


The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct

Passenger pigeons were once the world’s most abundant bird, but they were also the cheapest protein available. The last passenger pigeon, Martha, died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.


British Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons on Monday that he wants to give police the power to seize the passports of Islamist fighters bound for Iraq and Syria.

U.K. Seeks To Expand Terrorism Laws To Target British Fighters

Prime Minister David Cameron wants to give police the power to seize passports of Islamist fighters bound for Iraq and Syria. On Friday, Britain raised its threat level to “severe” from “substantial.”


The first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the original hero Golden Egg from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on display at Profiles In History in Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, on July 19, 2012.

For Anniversary, A New Chapter Of ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’

The chapter describes the Vanilla Fudge Room, an extra room in the chocolate factory. In it, Charlie Bucket goes to the factory with his mother – not his grandfather. The book turns 50 this month.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments