HARLEM — Tough but talented stage and movie actress Ruby Dee was remembered Thursday after news of her death spread throughout the neighborhood.
Dee, 91 — an award-winning actress and civil rights activist along with her late husband, Ossie Davis — died at her New Rochelle home Wednesday night, according to reports.
"The thing that I think is impressive about Ossie and Ruby and people like them is they used their celebrity and their recognition to be at the forefront," Apollo Theater CEO Janelle Procope told DNAinfo New York. "The world knows her and celebrates her contributions. Harlem is such a rich community and she is one of the stars."
Dee, who grew up in Harlem, starred in films like "American Gangster," "Do The Right Thing" and "A Raisin in the Sun." She and Davis took part in the 1963 March on Washington, and she was the emcee when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
"She gave her all. She didn't pull any punches," said Harlem resident Grace L. Jones, who said she knew Dee since the late 1940s. "We lost a star, but a bright star is now shining above."
Congressman Charles Rangel remembered Dee for contributions to the arts and activism.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Harlem's own, Ruby Dee," Rangel said in a statement. "Her immeasurable contributions to the artistic world, her inspirational activism in the Civil Rights movement, and her inspiring words of wisdom will be forever treasured in our hearts, as she will be greatly missed."