Speed Reads

RIP

Actress Ruby Dee dies at 91

Ruby Dee — an actress with decades of highly acclaimed performances on both stage and screen — passed away Wednesday night of undisclosed causes. She was 91.

After a long string of Broadway performances throughout the 1940s, Dee's breakout film role came as Rae Robinson in 1950's The Jackie Robinson Story. Throughout her career, she alternated between film, television, and theater roles, including the 1959 Broadway debut of A Raisin in the Sun opposite Sidney Poitier, which was adapted for the big screen with the same cast in 1961.

Dee's legacy of memorable screen appearances also includes her performance as Mother Sister in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing (in which she appeared opposite husband Ossie Davis) and her supporting role as Denzel Washington's mother in 2007's American Gangster, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

(EDITORS NOTE: There have been conflicting reports about Ruby Dee's age at the time of her death. Our story reflects the Associated Press' reporting.)