Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee

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Earlier this week, legendary actresses of stage and screen, Ruby Dee died at the age of 91. According to sources, the actress was at her home in New Rochelle, NY, surrounded by family members when she passed away.

Below, BroadwayWorld remembers the legend.

Dee is perhaps best known for her starring role in the 1960s film "A Raisin in the Sun", as well as her appearances in the SPIKE Lee films "Do the Right Thing" and "Jungle Fever." She was most recently seen on the big screen in "American Gangster", in which she took on the role of the mother of Denzel Washington's character.

Dee made several appearances on Broadway, earning two Drama Desk Awards for her performance in 1971's Boesman and Lena and 1973's Wedding Band. Among her theater credits are the original production of A Raisin in the Sun, Checkmates, Purlie Victorious, The Smile of the World, A Long Way from Home, Anna Lucasta and South Pacific.

Her career in acting has crossed all major forms of media over a span of eight decades, including the films A Raisin in the Sun, in which she recreated her stage role as a suffering housewife in the projects, and Edge of the City. She played both roles opposite Sidney Poitier. During the 1960s, Dee appeared in such politically charged films as Gone Are the Days and The Incident, which is recognized as helping pave the way for young African-American actors and filmmakers.

Among the many appearances that she made in various television series is her role as Cora Sanders, a Marxist college professor, in Season 1 of Police Woman. The character of Cora Sanders was obviously, but loosely, influenced by the real-life Angela Y. Davis. Dee was nominated for eight Emmy Awards, winning once for her role in the 1990 TV film Decoration Day. She was nominated for her television guest appearance in the China Beach episode, "Skylark". Her husband Ossie Davis (1917-2005) also appeared in the episode.

In 1995, she and Davis were awarded the National Medal of Arts. They were also recipients of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. In 2003, she narrated a series of WPA slave narratives in the HBO film Unchained Memories. In 2007 the winner of the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album was tied between Dee and Ossie Davis for With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together, and former President Jimmy Carter.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her portrayal of Mama Lucas in American Gangster. She won the Screen Actors Guild award for the same performance. At 83 years of age, Dee is currently the second oldest nominee for Best Supporting Actress, behind Gloria Stuart who was 87 when nominated for her role in Titanic.

high res photos

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Oprah Winfrey and Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of the New Musical THE COLOR PURPLE at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. December 1, 2005

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Oprah Winfrey and Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of the New Musical THE COLOR PURPLE at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. December 1, 2005

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Courtney B. Vance taking a photograph of Oprah Winfrey, Angela Basset and Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of the New Musical THE COLOR PURPLE at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. December 1, 2005

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Riby Dee attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Spike Lee & Ruby Dee.attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee

Spike Lee & Ruby Dee.attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
David Dinkins, Ruby Dee and Spike Lee attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit Awards Presentation in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the Woodie King Jr's NFT New Federal Theatre 40th Reunion Gala Benefit Awards Presentation in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Lamman Rucker, Woodie King Jr. & Ruby Dee.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee & Lynn Whitfield.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee & Lynn Whitfield.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Lamman Rucker, Lynn Whitfield, Ruby Dee.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the New Federal Theatre Press Conference at Trump Place, New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee arriving for the Opening Night Performance of FINIAN'S RAINBOW at the St. James Theatre in New York City. October 29, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee arriving for the Opening Night Performance of FINIAN'S RAINBOW at the St. James Theatre in New York City. October 29, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Broadway performance for the Broadway Revival of August Wilson's "FENCES", Cort Theatre, New York City. April 26, 2010

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Broadway performance for the Broadway Revival of August Wilson's "FENCES", Cort Theatre, New York City. April 26, 2010

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee arriving for the Opening Night Performance of FINIAN'S RAINBOW at the St. James Theatre in New York City. October 29, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee arriving for the Opening Night Performance of FINIAN'S RAINBOW at the St. James Theatre in New York City. October 29, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attends a Primary Stages Gala, May 1, 2009 in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attends a Primary Stages Gala, May 1, 2009 in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attends a Primary Stages Gala, May 1, 2009 in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attends a Primary Stages Gala, May 1, 2009 in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee Attending the Christopher Awards in New York City. Feb 28, 2002

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee Attending the Crystal Apple Awards at Gracie Mansion in New York City. July 6, 1991

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee Attending the Crystal Apple Awards at Gracie Mansion in New York City. July 6, 1991

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ossie Davis with his Mom and wife Ruby Dee Attending the Crystal Apple Awards at Gracie Mansion in New York City. July 6, 1991

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ossie Davis with his Mom and wife Ruby Dee Attending the Crystal Apple Awards at Gracie Mansion in New York City. July 6, 1991

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee and Ozzie Davis Attending the opening night performance of A RAISIN IN THE SUN at the Royale Theatre in New York City. April 26, 2004

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of 'The Mountaintop' at the Bernhard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the Opening Night Performance of 'The Mountaintop' at the Bernhard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of 'The Mountaintop' at the Bernhard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee.attending the Opening Night Performance of 'The Mountaintop' at the Bernhard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee attending the Opening Night Performance of 'The Mountaintop' at the Bernhard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

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Walter McBride As a 14 year old youth, Walter was transfixed by his first Broadway Show, the original production of 'GREASE'. His Journey to celebrity photojournalism began that fateful night. Meeting, photographing and getting to know the cast inspired him to spend his professional life doing what he loved. Walter moved to Manhattan and for a leading role as a Photographer & Photo Researcher. Currently headlining in New Jersey with his partner Richard and family members Dali (Jack Russell) & Gala (Schnoodle). Recently he made his Broadway debut sharing the stage with Hugh Jackman in 'Hugh Jackman on Broadway' as well as receiving the Actors' Equity Association Gypsy Spirit Award. Walter McBride Photography is syndicated worldwide by Corbis/AP.