American actress and activist Ruby Dee, who – at the second attempt – graced Toa Fraser’s No. 2, has died at home in New York. She was 89 or 91, depending on the source of the information.
Dee was here to shoot No. 2 in Auckland when her husband of almost 60 years, Ossie Davis, died at home in the US, forcing production to be halted. Dee returned to complete the production some months later.
The film won the Audience Award at its Sundance premiere plus several other awards including Best Actress gongs both here and in the US for Dee.
#RIP Ruby Dee from all of us in Mt. Roskill. Thank you for coming to the Pacific and helping us to tell our story. With love and gratitude.
— Toa Fraser (@ToaFraser) June 12, 2014
Dee was as well-known for her activism as her acting, and was a friend of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X before their deaths in the 1960s.
She and Davis were awarded a number of Lifetime Achievement awards for their work both off-screen and on. Since completing No. 2, Dee completed a dozen more features. She picked up the only Oscar nomination of her near 70-year career for her role in American Gangster.