Oscar-nominated actress Ruby Dee, whose career in film and theatre spanned five decades, died at the age of 91 at her home in New York. Dee passed away peacefully from age-related causes on Wednesday night, said The Hollywood Reporter.Dee had an impressive stage career, including a highly praised performance in ‘Purlie Victorious’ (1963). Also on stage, Dee was notable as the proud working mother Ruth in ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ (1961). Dee won an Obie Award in 1971 for her portrayal of Lena in Athol Fugard’s ‘Boseman and Lena’ (1970) and a Drama Desk Award for ‘Wedding Band’ (1974). She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Ridley Scott’s 2007 drama ‘American Gangster’.
She acted in many films alongside her late husband Ossie Davis, with whom she had three children, Nora, Guy and Hasna. Along with Davis, she was honored with the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award in 2001. They were the second couple to receive that distinction, with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward honored in 1995. Dee was the first black actress to play a leading role in the American Shakespeare Festival, when she acted in ‘King Lear’ (1965). She later triumphed in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (1965) on Broadway.
Dee and Davis conceived the acclaimed PBS series ‘With Ossie & Ruby’ (1981). The couple co-hosted, performed and co-produced 26 half-hour programs. She co-produced ‘The Ossie Davis and Rudy Dee Story Hour’.Dee was also known for her writing. She penned a column for the Amsterdam News and served as a contributing editor on Freedomways Magazine. She also co-wrote a film, Uptight. She made many recordings of poems and stories and regularly gave concert readings, primarily from the works of black writers.