Ruby Dee (October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014) was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and activist. She is perhaps best known for co-starring in the film A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and the film American Gangster (2007) for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has won Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors, among scores of others awards. She was married to actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005.
Ruby Wallace married blues singer Frankie Dee in the mid-1940s; the couple later divorced, but she kept his surname professionally. Three years later she married actor Ossie Davis.Together they had three children: son, blues musician Guy Davis, and two daughters, Nora Day and Hasna Muhammad. Dee is a breast cancer survivor of more than three decades. Dee and Davis were well-known civil rights activists. Dee is a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dee and Davis were both personal friends of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, with Davis giving the eulogy at Malcolm X’s funeral in 1965.
In 2009 she received an Honorary Degree from Princeton University. She died on June 11, 2014 at her home in New Rochelle, NY from natural causes at the age of 91.