Dee was a fixture of stage and screen throughout her decades-long career, including her iconic work as Ruth Younger in the 1959 Broadway play "A Raisin in the Sun," in which she starred opposite Sidney Poitier. She later reprised her role for the 1961 film adaptation, which earned her a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Her one and only Oscar nomination came late in her career, when she received a nod for Best Supporting Actress for her work in 2007's "American Gangster" at age 83. Dee was nominated for multiple Emmy awards, taking home a statuette in 1991; shared a Grammy with her late husband and fellow actor, Ossie Davis; and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000.
But her offscreen work in the civil rights movement also earned her attention and admiration. A friend of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Dee and Davis served as masters of ceremony for King's 1963 March on Washington. They remained dedicated activists for the remainder of their lives.
Dee's daughter, Nora Davis Day, told the Associated Press that Dee died on Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, New York, of natural causes. Dee was surrounded by her children and grandchildren, Day said.
[via: Associated Press]