Ruby Dee, the African-American actress who was cherished for her performances on Broadway and on screen, and was an indefatigable fighter against injustice in the U.S. and abroad, died Wed., June 11, 2014, at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91.
Dee's long career earned her an Emmy, a Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the NAACP Image Award, Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Art, and the National Civil Rights Museum's Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as an Oscar nomination - at age 83 - for the film, "American Gangster."
Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio, Ruby Dee was raised in Harlem, and worked with the American Negro Theater, collaborating with such actors as Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. She made her Broadway bow in a 1943 play, "South Pacific" (unrelated to the musical).
Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis met in 1945 when she auditioned for the Broadway play "Jeb," and married on a day off from another play in 1948. Over more than half a century the couple would share billing in 11 stage productions (including "Remains to Be Seen" "A Raisin in the Sun," "Purlie Victorious," and "I'm Not Rappaport") and five movies.
"The Fight Never Ends"
One of Ruby Dee's earliest films was "The Fight Never Ends" (1949), a biopic of fighter Joe Louis, starring Louis as himself.
"The Jackie Robinson Story"
Ruby Dee played the wife of another sports legend, Jackie Robinson, in the 1950 film, "The Jackie Robinson Story." Likewise, the sports great was played by the man himself.
Forty years later, Dee starred in a TV movie, "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson," this time playing Robinson's mother.
"The Tall Target"
In "The Tall Target" (1951), about a plot to assassinate President Lincoln during his second inauguration, Ruby Dee played a slave who helps uncover the conspiracy. Marshall Thompson, Paula Raymond and Dick Powell also starred.
"Edge of the City"
In "Edge of the City" (1957), directed by Martin Ritt, John Cassavetes played a longshoreman befriended by fellow dockworker Sidney Poitier. Also starring were Ruby Dee, as Poitier's wife, and Kathleen Maguire.
It was Dee's second film opposite Poitier (her first was an uncredited role in 1950's "No Way Out"). She also appeared in "A Raisin in the Sun," and Poitier's debut as a director, "Buck and the Preacher."
"St. Louis Blues"
Nat King Cole, as jazz musician and composer W.C. Handy, with Ruby Dee, in "St. Louis Blues" (1958).
"A Raisin in the Sun"
Ruby Dee starred as Ruth Younger, with Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil and Diana Sands, in the 1961 film version of "A Raisin in the Sun," Lorraine Hansberry's play about a poor family transformed by a financial windfall.
March on Washington
Actress Ruby Dee speaks at the 1963 March on Washington, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963. She and her husband, Ossie Davis, served as emcees of the event, at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Ruby Dee was one of many terrified passengers on a New York City subway train menaced by thugs in "The Incident" (1967). Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges and Tony Musante costarred.
Among Ruby Dee's many television roles in the 1960s were major characters in the soap operas "Peyton Place" (left, with Percy Rodriguez) and "The Guiding Light."
"Buck and the Preacher"
Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier in the 1971 western, "Buck and the Preacher."
"Buck and the Preacher"
Ruby Dee in director Sidney Poitier's "Buck and the Preacher."
"All God's Children"
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in the 1980 TV movie, "All God's Children."
"Do the Right Thing"
Ruby Dee as Mother Sister, who maintains a contemptuous relationship with the affable neighborhood character known as Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989).
"Do the Right Thing"
Mother Sister (Ruby Dee) has her hair combed by Jade (Joie Lee) in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing."
Ruby Dee worked again with director Spike Lee in "Jungle Fever" (1991), as the mother of "Gator" Purify (Samuel L. Jackson), whose crack addiction leads to family tragedy.
Ruby Dee and Blair Underwood (playing a man accused of murder) in the legal thriller "Just Cause" (1995), which also starred Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne.
Kennedy Center Honors
At the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors, actress Angela Bassett praised honorees Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, saying, "They took their art to colleges, community centers, cafeterias, hospitals, union halls and prisons. Wherever they stood was their stage."
Also honored were actor-director Warren Batty, composer John Williams, singer-songwriter Elton John, and singer Joan Sutherland.
Television personality Oprah Winfrey and actress Ruby Dee attend the opening of "The Color Purple," at the Broadway Theatre, December 1, 2005 in New York City.
Ruby Dee received her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, for the 2007 thriller "American Gangster." She played the mother of a Harlem underworld leader played by Denzel Washington.
Actress Ruby Dee poses with her SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, for "American Gangster," at the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, at the Shrine Auditorium, January 27, 2008 in Los Angeles.
Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon
Actresses Ruby Dee and Kerry Washington arrive at the First Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon, at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 21, 2008 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Tribeca Film Institute
Actress Ruby Dee and musician/actor Harry Belafonte attend a screening of "Soundtrack for a Revolution," hosted by Tribeca Film Institute's Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund at Tribeca Cinemas on January 9, 2010 in New York City.
"A Thousand Words"
Eddie Murphy and Ruby Dee in the 2012 comedy, "A Thousand Words."
"Betty and Coretta"
In the 2013 TV movie, "Betty and Coretta," Ruby Dee played the widow of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, opposite Mary K. Blige as Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X.
A 1972 publicity photo of actress Ruby Dee.
Ruby Dee died on June 11, 2014, at the age of 91.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan; the Associated Press contributed to this report