Ruby Dee was an American actress, writer and activist. I remember her best as Sidney Poitier's wife in "A Raisin in the Sun," but also for her roles in "Do the Right Thing," "American Gangster" and many others.
Did you know that Ruby played a role in television's "The Golden Girls"? She played Blanche Devereaux' "Mammy," who had also been the mistress of Blanche's white, Southern father. At the time of "Big Daddy's" death, Mammy returns to Blanche's life to ask for a music box she had once given to Blanche's father. Blanche, incorrectly assuming that the woman is a gold digger, refuses in a cold and haughty way. Blanche then reveals that she was hurt by the abrupt way "Mammy" left her life. So Mammy is left to explain...
Mammy says, "Blanche, I loved your father."
Blanche replies, "Well of course you did - everybody loved Big Daddy."
And Ruby replies, "No, Blanche - you don't understand. I loved your father." It's a wonderful, and funny, moment as the truth gradually dawns on our southern belle.
Well of course it all works out in the end. Turns out Blanche's mother learned of the affair and Mammy had to disappear, but that didn't keep her from watching Blanche - her "dumpling" - from afar at key points in her life including her wedding, where Mammy disappeared into the crowd by standing in back with the kitchen help.
The beauty of Ruby Dee, apart from her obvious physical beauty and gifts as an artist, was her courage and consciousness. It's hard enough being an actor - let alone a dark-complected actor in a predominantly white business. Add to that the fact that she apparently never lost sight of her goal, which was clearly social justice, and we see her for what she was: a fine artist and a truly great woman.
Ruby Dee is quoted as saying, "The kind of beauty I want is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within - strength, courage, dignity." Well, Ruby, you certainly accomplished that, and more.