Name at birth: Ruby Ann Wallace
Ruby Dee was a star of stage and screen for decades, beginning with her 1946 Broadway debut in Anna Lucasta. She appeared hundreds of times in plays, movies and television shows, frequently co-starring with her husband, actor Ossie Davis. The pair, married from 1948 until Davis's death in 2005, were also famous for their off-screen activism and work on behalf of African-Americans in the performing arts. Ruby Dee was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in American Gangster (2007, starring Denzel Washington), and she was nominated for six Emmys during her career, winning once, for 1990's Decoration Day. Her other films include The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), A Raisin in the Sun (1961, with Sidney Poitier), Do the Right Thing (1988, directed by Spike Lee) and Baby Geniuses (1999).
In 2004, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were honored by the Kennedy Center for their contributions to the performing arts in America… In 1998 Dee published a collection of writings, My One Good Nerve… In 2000 she and Davis published their autobiography, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.