Vintage Vixen: Ruby Dee


Maybe you’ve never heard of this lovely lady, but she is definitely a woman worth appreciating. Ruby Dee was a notable actress, poet, journalist, playwright, screenwriter and civil rights activist. She fought for freedom and humanity, and was even arrested(!) for protesting the shooting of an immigrant (named Amadou Diallo) alongside her husband.



Ms Dee joined the American Negro Theatre as an apprentice, where she worked alongside some high profile actors (Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Hilda Simms). She worked on Broadway and in film and she was the first black actress to perform a lead role at the American Shakespeare Festival. Dee was also the first black actress to land a role on a nighttime soap opera playing Alma Miles on popular tv show Peyton Place.


Ruby Dee lived until 2014 where she died at the age of 91 years and had worked in the industry for approximately 70 years.

Five interesting facts about this extraordinary woman:


  1. In the 60’s Ms Dee and her Husband Ossie Davis trialled an ‘open marriage’
  2. She has written two children’s books
  3. She was close friends with both Martin Luther King Jnr and Malcolm X
  4. In 1944 she graduated with two degrees, one being French and the other Spanish
  5. Her first onscreen role was in 1946 where she played a role in “love in Syncopation”



Below is a monologue in Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jnr

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