Remembering Ruby Dee — Interesting Facts about Ossie Davis' Wife of 56 Years

Afouda Fortune
Jul 30, 2020
05:30 P.M.
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Late Hollywood entertainer Ruby Dee explored her career in several fields, ranging from journalism, activism, poetry, and writing, among others. Here is a peek into the legacy she lived.


Hollywood Legend Ruby Dee, who married fellow star Ossie Davis was famous for her role in 1961's "A Raisin in the Sun," among many other film projects alongside her spouse, Ossie Davis.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee backstage at the 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 11, 2001 | Photo: Getty Images


However, she spread her expertise to other professions where she excelled as well. According to Biography, Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace and grew up in Harlem. She got acquainted with stage plays in her teenage years as a member of the American Negro Theatre.

Dee passed on in June 2014 and was said to have died from natural causes. The Hollywood legend died at her home in New Rochelle, New York, at the age of 91.

A monochrome portrait of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee on January 01, 1980 | Photo: Getty Images


Dee got her big break in 1946 as the main cast of the Broadway musical, "Anna Lucasta." She met her spouse, Davis the same year. The duo got married and had three children. They would later amass outstanding Hollywood recognition and awards together. 

History Makers reports that Dee was not just an actress but one of the pacesetters in Hollywood. She became the first African-American woman to take a lead role in the American Shakespearean Festival.

Dee's tenacity extends to her personal life as she was a cancer survivor for over thirty years. She and her husband jointly received several awards, including the National Medal of Arts, the NAACP Hall of Fame, the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Screen Actors' Guild's Life Achievement Award, among others.


Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis at the after-party for the opening night of "Caroline or Change" on May 2, 2004 | Photo: Getty Images

In her lifetime, Dee starred in over fifty movies and established a hallmark of acting. Dee and Davis also extended their expertise to authorship, screenwriting, and civic activism.


NPR reports that Dee's career spanned 70 years. She and her spouse were civil rights activists who worked alongside the likes of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Once in an interview, Dee mentioned that she and her husband used their art as an instrument for activism.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at the 3rd Annual Directors Guild Of America Honors at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on June 9, 2002 | Photo: Getty Images


Davis passed on in 2005 when Dee was away in New Zealand working on a movie project. After his death, Dee made sure to carry on the legacy. That same year, the duo was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word album.

Actress Ruby Dee poses in the press room at the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2008 | Photo: Getty Images

According to IMDB, Dee passed on in June 2014 and was said to have died from natural causes. The Hollywood legend died at her home in New Rochelle, New York at the age of 91.