Legendary stage and screen actress Ruby Dee dead at 91

The multi-talented screen legend was much more than a talented actress but also Civil Rights activist and humanitarian who starred in more than 40 movies.

Actress Ruby Dee, who died Thursday, June 12 at the age of 91, is arguably one of the most iconic black actresses in the history of cinema. Best known for her role as Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece “Do the Right Thing,” Dee starred in more than 40 movies, many with her legendary husband Ossie Davis who died in 2005.

Ruby Dee was known for her versatility. She was loved by many and respected by all. Most of all she was known for being part of the power duo that was known for more than starring in movies.

Not only were the pair a dynamic screen couple but the two fought for Civil Rights side by side in the ’50s and ’60s. Often on the front lines and never afraid to be vocal.

Dee starred on Broadway, in television and film winning an Emmy, a Grammy and a Screen Actors Guild award. She earned her sole Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, for “American Gangster” in 2007 starring opposite two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington.

Ironically a documentary on the couple’s trailblazing career and personal history, “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” premieres on June 18 at the 18th Annual American Black Film Festival in New York. The film was directed by Dee and Davis’ grandson Muta’Ali.

Rudy Dee, without question, is a legend. The 91-year-old actress had a major impact on not just black cinema but movies in general. She will be missed.

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