Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

Infobox actor

imagesize = 200px
caption = photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1962
birthname = Ruby Ann Wallace
birthdate = birth date and age|1924|10|27
birthplace = Cleveland, Ohio
spouse = Ossie Davis (1948-2005)
emmyawards = Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1991 "Decoration Day"
grammyawards = Best Spoken Word Album
2007 "With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together"
naacpimageawards = Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
1991 "Do the Right Thing"
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1999 "Promised Land"
sagawards = Life Achievement Award
2001 Lifetime Achievement
Outstanding Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
2007 "American Gangster"
awards = NBR Award for Best Supporting Actress
1961 "A Raisin in the Sun"|

Ruby Dee (born October 27, 1924) is an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and activist.


Early life

Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Gladys Hightower and Marshall Edward Nathaniel Wallace, a cook, waiter, and porter. After her mother left the family, Dee's father married Emma Amelia Benson, a schoolteacher. [cite book |last=Davis |first=Ossie | coauthors=Dee, Ruby | year=1998 | chapter=Ruby Is Born at Seven | title=With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together | publisher=William Morrow | isbn=0688175821 | chapterurl= | accessdate=2008-07-30] [cite book | last=Gates | first=Henry Louis | coauthors= | title=Arts and Letters: An A-To-Z Reference of Writers, Musicians, and Artists of the African American Experience | location= | publisher=Running Press | year=2005 | isbn=0762420421 | chapterurl=] [cite book | last=Lyman | first=Darryl | coauthors= | title=Great African-American Women | location= | publisher=Jonathan David Company, Inc | year=2005 | isbn=0824604598 | chapterurl=] [cite web | title=Ruby Dee Biography | url= | work=filmreference | date=2008 | accessdate=2008-07-30] Dee grew up in Harlem, New York. She graduated in 1945 from Hunter College with degrees in French and Spanish, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Inc. She made several appearances on Broadway before receiving national recognition for her role in the 1950 film "The Jackie Robinson Story".


Dee's career in acting has crossed all major forms of media over a span of eight decades, including the films "A Raisin in the Sun", in which she recreated her stage role as a suffering housewife in the projects, and "Edge of the City". She played both roles opposite Sidney Poitier. During the 1960s, Dee appeared in such politically charged films as "Gone Are the Days" and "The Incident", which is recognized as helping pave the way for young African-American actors and filmmakers.

She appeared in one episode of the Golden Girls' sixth season. Dee has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards, winning once for her role in the 1990 TV film "Decoration Day". [cite web | title=Ruby Dee Awards| url= | work=The Internet Movie Database| date=2008 | accessdate=2008-07-30] She was nominated for her television guest appearance in the "China Beach" episode, "Skylark." Her late husband Ossie Davis (1917-2005) also appeared in that episode.

In 2007 the winner of the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album was tied between Dee and Ossie Davis for "With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together", and former President Jimmy Carter.

She has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her portrayal of Mama Lucas in "American Gangster". She won the SAG award for the same performance. At 83 years old, Dee is currently the second oldest nominee for Best Supporting Actress, behind Gloria Stuart who was 87 for her role in "Titanic". This was Dee's first nomination. It was also significant in that hers is the second shortest performance (at approximately five minutes) ever to be nominated for an acting Oscar, following that of the cameo appearance of Sylvia Miles in "Midnight Cowboy".

Personal life & activism

Ruby Wallace married blues singer Frankie Dee in the mid-40's but later divorced him and married actor Ossie Davis.

Together, Dee and Davis wrote an autobiography in which they discuss their political activism as well as insights on their open marriage. [cite web | url= | title=Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee on Open Marriage | | accessdate=2008-07-30] Together they had three children; son, blues musician Guy Davis, and two daughters, Nora Day, and Hasna Muhammad. Dee has survived breast cancer for more than 30 years.

Dee and Davis were well-known civil rights activists. Among others, Dee is a member of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dee and Davis were personal friends of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, with Davis giving the eulogy at the latter's funeral in 1965.

Dee, who is a long time resident of New Rochelle, New York, was inducted into the Westchester County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 30, 2007 joining the ranks with past honorees, Hillary Clinton, Sally Ziegler and Nita Lowey. cite news | author=Staff writers |title=Ruby Dee To Be Named To Women's Hall Of Fame |url='s_Hall_Of_Fame_200703067510.html | | archiveurl= | date=2007-03-06 | archivedate=2007-03-06 |accessdate=2008-01-23]


tage productions

* "South Pacific" (1943)
* "Anna Lucasta" (1944)
* "Jeb" (1946)
* "A Long Way From Home" (1948)
* "The Smile of the World" (1949)
* "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959)
* "Purlie Victorious" (1961)
* "Checkmates" (1988)


*"All About Us" (2007)
*"American Gangster" (2007)
*"Steam" (2007)
*"Flying Over Purgatory" (2007)
*"No. 2" (2006)
*"Dream Street" (2005)
*"The Way Back Home" (2005)
*"Their Eyes Were Watching God" (2005)
*"" (2003)
*"" (2003)
*"Baby of the Family" (2002)
*"The Unfinished Journey" (1999)
*"" (1999)
*"Baby Geniuses" (1999)
*"" (1998)
*"A Simple Wish" (1997)
*"Just Cause" (1995)
*"Tuesday Morning Ride" (1995)
*"The Stand" (1994)
*"Cop & 1/2" (1993)
*"Jazztime Tale" (1992)
*"Jungle Fever" (1991)
*"" (1991)
*"Love at Large" (1990)
*"The Golden Girls", episode "Wham Bam Thank You Mammy," as Mammy (1990)
*"Do the Right Thing" (1989)
*"Cat People" (1982)
*"The Torture of Mothers" (1980)

*"" (1979, TV)
*"Countdown at Kusini" (1976)
*"" (1975)
*"It's Good to be Alive" (1974)
*"Wattstax" (1973)
*"Black Girl" (1972)
*"Buck and the Preacher" (1972)
*"" (1970)
*"Up Tight!" (1968) (also writer and co-producer)
*"The Incident" (1967)
*"Gone Are the Days!" (1963)
*"The Balcony" (1963)
*"A Raisin in the Sun" (1961)
*"Take a Giant Step" (1959)
*"St. Louis Blues" (1958)
*"Virgin Island" (1958)
*"Edge of the City" (1957)
*"The Great American Pastime" (1956)
*"Go, Man, Go!" (1954)
*"The Tall Target" (1951)
*"No Way Out" (1950)
*"The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950)
*"The Fight Never Ends" (1949)
*"That Man of Mine" (1947)
*"What a Guy" (1939)

Awards and nominations

* 1961: National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress – "A Raisin in the Sun"
* 1971: Drama Desk Award Outstanding Performance – "Boesman and Lena"
* 1971: Obie Award for Best Performance by an Actress – "Boesman and Lena"
* 1973: Drama Desk Award Outstanding Performance – "Wedding Band"
* 1991: Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini–Series or TV Movie – "Decoration Day"
* 2001: Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2008: African–American Film Critics Best Supporting Actress – "American Gangster"
* 2008: Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role – "American Gangster"; Nominations
* 1993: Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – "Evening Shade"
* 2002: Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Actress – "Saint Lucy's Eyes"
* 2008: Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – "American Gangster"
* 2008: Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – "American Gangster"
* 2008: Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – "American Gangster"
* 2008: Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture – "American Gangster"


*cite book |last=Davis |first=Ossie |coauthors=Ruby Dee |url= |year=1984 |title=Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears |format=Audio Cassette |publisher=Caedmon |isbn=978-0694511877
*cite book |last=Dee |first=Ruby |title=My One Good Nerve: Rhythms, Rhymes, Reasons |year=1986 |publisher=Third World Press |location= |isbn=088378114X
*cite book |last=Davis |first=Ossie | coauthors=Dee, Ruby | year=1998 | title=With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together | publisher=William Morrow | isbn=9780688153960


External links

* [ Ruby Dee] at the Internet Off-Broadway Database

* [ Ruby Dee's oral history video excerpts] at The National Visionary Leadership Project

NAME= Dee, Ruby
DATE OF BIRTH= 1924-10-27
PLACE OF BIRTH= Cleveland, Ohio

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