Today’s Throwback Thursday is a special one. It was reported just a few hours ago that the legendary actress Ruby Dee, at the age of 91, has passed away. An actress of great talent and range, she was also a dedicated activist during the Civil Rights era of the 20th century (she had even served the eulogy at Malcolm X’s funeral in 1965).
Dee is the recipient of many awards including a Grammy, SAG, and the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Harlem, and died in New Rochelle, New York.
As praised for her beauty as she was as a performer, Dee’s accomplishments are so notable. Her resume includes work as not just an actress, but she was also a writer of the film, stage, and poetry. She was married until his death in 2005 to fellow actor Ossie Davis, who also obtained an admirable career.
Including supporting roles in some of Spike Lee’s most iconic films (like Do the Right Thing), one of her last memorable parts was as Denzel Washington’s mother in 2007’s American Gangster in which she earned an Academy Award nomination. Her scenes were heralded by many critics as the heart of the film, though her role was minor.
Below is a vintage clip of Dee back in 1963, with Ossie, in the film adaptation of Purlie. Au revoir, Ruby…