Ruby Dee Gone

Published on: June 12, 2014
Photography by: Corbis/Getty
Ruby Dee Gone
Ruby Dee Gone

The legendary Oscar nominated Emmy winner and civil rights activist RUBY DEE gone at 91.

Ruby’s daughter told Nora Davis Day confirmed the sad news saying her mom died at home in New Rochelle, N.Y. Wednesday night of "natural causes."

“We have had her for so long and we loved her so much," Day said. "She took her final bow last night at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren. We gave her our permission to set sail," said Day. "She opened her eyes, closed her eyes and away she went."

Dee, who frequently acted alongside her husband of 56 years, Ossie Davis, was surrounded by family and friends, she added.

Among her best-known films was "A Raisin in the Sun," in 1961 based on the classic play by Lorraine Hansberry. On TV, Ruby was a leading cast member on the soap operas in the 1950s and early 1960ss, a rare sight for a black actress.

She won an Emmy as supporting actress for "Decoration Day" a year later in 1990

Meeting late hubby Ossie Davis on Broadway in 1945, she and her late husband were frequent collaborators. But they were also civil rights activists. In December 1948, on a day off Davis and Dee took a bus to New Jersey to get married. They shared billing in 11 stage productions and five movies during long parallel careers. Dee's fifth film, "No Way Out" with Sidney Poitier in 1950, was her husband's first.

In 1998, the pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and an even longer association in show business with the publication of a dual autobiography, "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together."

Ruby received a National Medal of the Arts in 1995 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000. In 2004, she and Davis received Kennedy Center Honors. She also garnered a Grammy in 2007 for spoken word album.

"I think you mustn't tell your body, you mustn't tell your soul, `I'm going to retire,'" Ruby Dee told AP in 2001. "I really don't believe in retiring as long as you can breathe."

Au revoir,  Ruby Dee.