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Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dies At 91

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Ruby DeeRuby Dee, an actress and civil rights activist who built a career on stage and screen at a time when African-Americans had few such opportunities, has died at age 91.

Cleveland-born Dee, who was married for 56 years to fellow actor Ossie Davis until his death in 2005, also won an Emmy and was nominated for several others, The Associated Press reports.

Perhaps Dee's best-known role was as Ruth Younger, the weary wife and mother in the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun. She starred alongside Sidney Poitier. Dee was also nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the 2007 film American Gangster.

NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports that Dee, whose career spanned 70 years, "was known for a graceful intensity on screen and stage."

"In 2005, Dee and Davis received the National Civil Rights Museum's Lifetime Achievement Freedom award. Davis died in February of that year.

"Dee's first film role came in 1949, in the musical drama That Man of Mine. She played Rachel Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story in 1950, and costarred opposite Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt and Cab Calloway in St. Louis Blues (1958)."

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