ruby dee

*Ruby Dee passed away at the age of 91 – surrounded by her children and grandchildren at home in New Rochelle, New York.

In a statement, the family of the Academy Award nominee said, “We were blessed to have been by her side during her transition.”

Her family were also with her in November of 2012 to celebrate her 90th birthday – a star studded event at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located in Harlem.

Many of Dee’s famous friends, including Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover and Angela Bassett applauded her. (See highlights from the event in tribute video)

Dee had an illustrious career on the stage, in Hollywood, and on television that spanned 70 years.

The beautiful actress and her husband Ossie Davis, he with the deep mellifluous voice, were known for more than their extraordinary acting talents – but also for being stalwarts in the civil rights movement.

While making the film, “Retirement,” in Miami in 2005, 87-year-old Davis was found dead in his hotel room. He died of natural causes.

Dee and Davis were married for over 50 years.

Dee received an Academy Award nomination for her role in “American Gangster” – starring in the crime drama alongside Denzel Washington.

She had numerous other awards including an NAACP Image Award, Grammy, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Medal of Arts.

President Barack Obama released a statement about her passing and he got personal remarking that, “Michelle and I will never forget seeing her on our first date as Mother Sister in Do the Right Thing.”

Obama went on to say, “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.”

After achieving stardom in the 1960’s on stage and screen in a “Raisin in the Sun,” Dee once talked about her beauty, saying, “the kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.”

“The family will have a private funeral service for Ms. Dee. A public memorial service at a later date is in the works, details of which will be announced in the future,” said family spokesperson, Terrie M. Williams.

Reach Tené Croom at [email protected] and follow on Twitter @TcTene.