Actress, activist Ruby Dee dies - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Actress, activist Ruby Dee dead at 91

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Actress Ruby Dee was a stage and screen star who was also active in the civil rights movement. (Source: Publicity photo/Wikipedia) Actress Ruby Dee was a stage and screen star who was also active in the civil rights movement. (Source: Publicity photo/Wikipedia)
Ruby Dee speaks at a luncheon in Georgia in 2006. (Source: U.S. Rep. David Scott/Wikipedia) Ruby Dee speaks at a luncheon in Georgia in 2006. (Source: U.S. Rep. David Scott/Wikipedia)

(RNN) - Actress Ruby Dee, an accomplished star on stage and screen who used her voice in the fight for civil rights, has died. She was 91.

She died Wednesday night at her home in New Rochelle, NY, according to her family.

Among her many notable roles, Dee starred alongside Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun, a play-turned-film about a poor black family at a turning point when suddenly faced with prospect of being granted a large sum of money.

Along with her late husband Ossie Davis, who died in 2005, Dee worked continually in charitable work aimed at bettering the lives of people, especially the underprivileged. The two often worked together on screen.

The couple won a Grammy for a 1998 spoken word album they produced together, With Ossie and Ruby, in which they reflected on a marriage that had lasted 50 years at that point.

Dee was a prominent participant in the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

"We lost another giant. A great humanitarian," writer and political commentator Donna Brazile tweeted.

Ruby Ann Wallace was born in Cleveland, OH, on Oct. 27, 1924, and she grew up in Harlem. She studied at Hunter College and the American Negro Theatre.

She received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the 1979 miniseries Roots: The Next Generation. She also starred in the Spike Lee-directed Do the Right Thing in 1989.

One of her most recent and famous roles was as the mother of Denzel Washington in American Gangster, a 2007 performance that earned the actress an Oscar nomination.

Her earlier roles included playing Jackie Robinson's wife, Rachel, in The Jackie Robinson Story; in the TV series Guiding Light and Peyton Place; and her breakthrough film role That Man of Mine.

Her stage career got its first big boost with a part in the Broadway play Anna Lucasta in 1946.

With Davis, Dee had three children: Guy Davis, Nora Davis Day and Hasna Muhammad.

She was previously married to Frankie Dee Brown from 1941 through 1945 before they divorced.

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