Ruby Dee Dead: Hollywood Remembers Trailblazing Actress
UPDATED: President Obama, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Mia Farrow and Anika Noni Rose were among those who shared their thoughts about the Oscar-nominated actress, poet, playwright and civil rights activist.
In the wake of news that Ruby Dee died Wednesday from age-related causes, Hollywood and the White House are mourning the actress whose career in film and theater spanned five decades.
In an email statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, President Barack Obama expressed his remorse, saying: "Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of actress, author, and activist Ruby Dee. In roles from Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun to Mama Lucas in American Gangster, Ruby captivated and challenged us—and Michelle and I will never forget seeing her on our first date as Mother Sister in Do the Right Thing.
"Through her remarkable performances, Ruby paved the way for generations of black actors and actresses, and inspired African-American women across our country. Through her leadership in the civil rights movement she and her husband, Ossie Davis, helped open new doors of opportunity for all," he continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Ruby and Ossie's three children, with their friends and family, and with all those who loved them dearly."
Spike Lee referred to her as his "spiritual mother." Russell Simmons tweeted that she "inspired" him, and Mia Farrow paid tribute to Dee's role in the civil rights movement.
The actress was active in politics and served as a member of the NAACP and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, among other organizations.
Others remembering Dee include actor Wendell Pierce, actress Martha Plimpton and CNN anchor Don Lemon.
Anika Noni Rose, who stars in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which Dee starred in in 1961, thanked Dee for being a trailblazer.
See what the stars are saying about Dee on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram:
Words cannot express how much Ruby Dee inspired me to be who I am today. I will miss her dearly...— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) June 12, 2014
"May Flights Of Angels Sing Thee To Thy Rest" God Bless You. Ruby Dee, legendary actress has died. One of the great influences in my life.— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) June 12, 2014
Actress Ruby Dee has passed away. I met her several times and she was absolutely lovely.— Sunny Hostin (@SunnyHostin) June 12, 2014
#RIP, Ruby Dee. Thank you for paving the way with your brilliance, beauty, fight and grace.— Anika Noni Rose (@AnikaNoniRose) June 12, 2014
The magnificent Ruby Dee, civil rights hero and extraordinary actress has left us RIP pic.twitter.com/lIsVqhO26v— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) June 12, 2014
Rest in Peace, Ruby Dee. The brilliant, compassionate, dedicated, fierce & wonderful woman she was is with us always.— Martha Plimpton (@MarthaPlimpton) June 12, 2014
People,I Just Found Out The Loss Of Spiritual Mother,The Late,Great Ruby Dee.I'm Crushed By This Bad… http://t.co/tUQzGt2mCa— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) June 12, 2014
A Spectacular woman, spectacular actor & activist has passed today....Ruby Dee. She & her husband Ossie Davis.. Re-United at last. R.I.P.— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) June 12, 2014
RIP, Ruby Dee—a lifelong NY'er whose mark on the performing arts community & civil rights movement lives on, inspiring us to be better.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 12, 2014
Rest with the angels and in peace, Ruby Dee.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 12, 2014