Ruby Dee Passes in New Rochelle

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Ossie and RubyNEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Ruby Dee, 91, died peacefully at her New Rochelle on Wednesday.

The long-time New Rochelle resident, along with her husband Ossie Davis, was an award-winning actress on stage and screen. She won a Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, Screen Actors Guild Award, creen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. She was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "American Gangster".

Dee's most notable role came was in the film A Raisin in the Sun in 1961

Ossie Davis died in 2005.

Dee and Davis were leaders in the civil rights movement. They were both close personal friends of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Davis gave the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral in 1965.

Dee was inducted into the New Rochelle Walk of Fame and the Westchester County Women's Hall of Fame.

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Statement:

Oscar-nominated actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee paved the way for many of us
by setting a wonderful example of strength and courage. She made her mark on history, from Broadway to Hollywood, fighting for racial equality in the arts after standing with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. She was a lovely person, who was always very generous with her time, helping community organizations and local theater companies. I mourn her loss along with her family and the residents of New Rochelle where she and her late husband Ossie Davis made their home.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino Statement:

It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to one of our own. A barrier-breaking and wonderfully talented actress, Ruby Dee was blessed with beauty inside and out. It was a beauty that belied a steely grit and determination that Ruby used to fight for causes she cared deeply about. She was never as Theodore Roosevelt would say the ‘cold and timid soul’ who would stand on the sidelines. Whether it was acting or activism, Ruby Dee always stood tall and proud on center stage. As she exits the stage we give her one last round of hearty applause for a life well lived. God Bless.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson Statement:

Ruby Dee was a towering cultural icon, who inspired generations of Americans – and countless others around the world – through her artistry on the stage and screen and through her leadership on issues of civil rights and social justice.

Here in New Rochelle, we were privileged to see another side of Ruby – a woman of great personal warmth, who cared deeply for her neighbors, and whose generosity and energy were applied to public education, our library, the structure of local government, and a range of other causes. Ruby and her late husband, Ossie Davis, didn’t simply reside in New Rochelle; they were pillars of our community, beloved and admired by countless residents.

Ruby’s presence in New Rochelle has always been a source of pride to the people of our city. We are united now in gratitude for the opportunity to share in her remarkable life. May Ruby Dee rest in peace.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Brian Sussman on Thu, 06/12/2014 - 22:31

During the 1960's, when I was a teenager, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis spoke to us students, a number of times in Assemblies at Albert Leonard Jr High and New Rochelle High School. They were active locally and in the PTA, probably because of their children, but also because of their love of this friendly suburban city.

I recall, in particular, an Assembly where Ossie and Ruby spoke to the students shortly after ML King Jr was murdered, to reassure and calm all the students and faculty. Everyone appreciated their efforts. The ALJHS and NRHS students, of all ethnicities, got along and socialized well, but the guidance and caring of Ruby and Ossie were well received, and they were loved by all of us.

In many ways, New Rochelle was in the center of the Civil Rights Movement, as it had three segregated elementary schools ordered integrated by the federal courts. Yet it also had loved residents such as Ruby and Ossie, as well as Whitney Young, with Malcolm X living in nearby Mt Vernon, all in the center of the Civil Rights Movement.

Ruby and Ossie were wonderful people in their private as well as professional lives, and will be greatly missed in New Rochelle as well as throughout the USA.

God bless you, Ruby Dee. You lived a peaceful, blissful, artistically and socially productive life. I know you will rest in peace.

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