Actress and Activist Ruby Dee, 1922-2014

June 12, 2014

deeobitActress Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New Rochell, NY at the age of 91. A passionate and versatile performer, she received accolades for her role in the 1970 Athol Fugard drama Boesman and Lena, and her role as Ruth Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama A Raisin in the Sun. She went on to reprise that role in the 1961 film version with one reviewer noting: “Is there a better young actress in America, or one who can make everything she does so effortless?” Her film career included roles in the films of Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever) as well as for a supporting role in the 2007 film American Gangster, for which she won an Oscar nomination. A lifelong civil rights activist, along with her husband Ossie Davis, Ms. Dee “lent her voice and presence to the cause of racial equality outside show business.” In With Ossie and Ruby, she wrote” The largest piece of unfinished business before humankind is, in our opinion, poverty, spiritual as well as material, racism, yes, and sexism, too; Struggle is all there is, and we are still committed.” Read more about this legendary actress in today’s NYTimes and NPR tributes.  And check the EPL catalog for more of her works.


They Had Faces Then

December 17, 2013

o'tooleHollywood lost two legendary stars over the weekend: Peter O’Toole died Saturday in London at the age of 81; Joan Fontaine was 96 when she died at her Carmel, California home on Sunday. Peter O’Toole is probably best know for his Oscar nominated performance in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. His striking good looks prompted playwright Noel Coward to quip “if  O’Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie “Florence of Arabia.” Nominated for a total of eight Academy Awards, including Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, and Man of La Mancha, Mr. O’Toole won an  honorary Oscar in 2003. This NYT article is a fascinating look at this charismatic star.

fontaine-refer-articleInlineJoan Fontaine was 24 years old when she won the best actress Oscar for the 1942 film Suspicion. Her film career thrived in the 1940s and 1950s with title roles in Jane Eyre (opposite Orson Welles); Letter From an Unknown Woman; and Island in the Sun. She and her sister actress Olivia de Havilland were “estranged for most of their adult lives, a situation Ms. Fontaine once attributed to her having married and won an Oscar before Ms. de Havilland did.” You can read more about this actress here.


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