Famed director Spike Lee worked with the late, great Ruby Dee on films such as Jungle Fever and Do the Right Thing, and as news spread of her passing this week, Lee posted a few words on Instagram about the beloved actress and activist.
“People, I Just Found Out The Loss Of Spiritual Mother,The Late,Great Ruby Dee,” Spike wrote. “I’m Crushed By This Bad News And I Know Ruby Has Already Been Embraced In A Warm Loving Hug From Her Life Partner Of 57 Years-Mr. Ossie Davis.It Has Been One Of My Great Blessings In Life To Work With Two Of The Finest ArtistAnd Activist-Ruby And Ossie Were In The Battlefields a With Paul Robeson,Malcolm X And Dr. Martin Luther King. Ruby And Ossie Served As A Living Example That One Could Be An Artist And A Activist Too,That One Could Be An Artist And Still Deal With What It Means To Be A Black Woman And A Black Man In These United States. God Bless You Ruby Dee. God Bless You Ossie Davis.The Both Of You Told Us “To Always Do The Right Thing. Spike Lee. Please Excuse All Typos.”
Ruby Dee played the stern neighborhood matriarch Mother Sister in Do the Right Thing, where she offered motherly advice to people bustling around her stoop on a hot day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (New York). Mother Sister is also wooed by the hapless neighborhood drunkard, affectionately dubbed “The Mayor,” who was played by Dee’s husband, Ossie Davis. Dee was paired with Davis in her next project for Lee, 1991’s romantic drama Jungle Fever. The legendary couple played a religious couple struggling with their eldest son (played memorably by Samuel L. Jackson) and his drug addiction; as well as their younger son (Wesley Snipes) who is involved in an affair with a white woman.
Ruby Dee died on June 12 at the age of 91.