General News

Ossie Davis Dies

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Feb 04, 2005 | 11:47am EST

Actor, playwright, director and social activist Ossie Davis was found dead Feb. 4 in his hotel room. He was 87.

Davis, a frequent acting partner of his wife Ruby Dee, is perhaps best known to young audiences for his work in such Spike Lee films as School Daze, Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever.

Davis lived with Dee, whom he married in 1948, in New Rochelle, New York. Both were honored by President George W. Bush in December at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC.

Davis made his first movie, 1950's No Way Out, which also starred Dee as well as a young actor making his screen debut, Sidney Poitier.

During a lengthy acting career, Davis and Dee costarred together in 11 stage productions and five movies. On TV, they both played in Roots: The Next Generation, Martin Luther King: The Dream and the Drum and The Stand.

Davis, the oldest of five children, left his Georgia home in 1935 to hitchhike to Washington, DC, to enter Howard University, where he studied drama. His desire was to become a playwright--a dream he fulfilled with his 1961 Broadway hit about a small town Georgia preacher, Purlie Victorious.

In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998, Davis and Dee published a dual memoir, In This Life Together.

Davis is survived by his wife Dee and their children Guy, Nora and LaVerne.

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