Dee, Ruby (1923–)
Dee, Ruby (1923–)
African-American actress and civil-rights activist. Born Ruby Ann Wallace, Oct 27, 1923, in Cleveland, Ohio; dau. of Marshall Edward and Emma (Benson) Wallace; Hunter College, BA; m. Ossie Davis (actor), Dec 9, 1948; children: Nora, LaVerne and Guy Davis.
Obie and two-time Drama Desk award winner, known for her dedication in the cause of civil rights, made stage debut with American Negro Theater in Natural Man (1941); made Broadway debut as Ruth in Rigsby and Heyward's South Pacific (1943); appeared in title role of Anna Lucasta (1944); portrayed Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Lutiebelle in Purlie Victorious (1961), and Lena in Boesman and Lena (1970); also appeared in Alice Childress' Wedding Band (1973); published Child Glow and Other Poems (1973) and wrote several plays, including Twin Bit Gardens (1976), the musical Take It from the Top (1979), and Zora Is My Name (1983), about Zora Neale Hurston; also co-authored and starred in the film Uptight (1969); other films include No Way Out (1950), The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), St. Louis Blues (1958), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Take a Giant Step (1963), Gone Are the Days! (Purlie Victorious, 1963), The Balcony (1963), The Incident (1967), Buck and the Preacher (1972) and Do the Right Thing (1988); received Emmy nomination for performance in episode of "East Side, West Side," and appeared with husband on PBS programs, including "History of the Negro People." Elected to Theater Hall of Fame (1988); was a Kennedy Center Honoree (2004).
See also memoir (with Ossie Davis) With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together (Morrow, 1998) and My One Good Nerve (a collection of verse based on her one-woman show, Wiley, 1998); and Women in World History.