Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005
October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014

Raiford Chatman “Ossie” Davis was an actor, writer, director and activist whose career charged across the stage and screen through the turbulent middle half of the American 20th Century. Along with contemporaries like Sidney Poitier and Melvin Van Peeples, Davis forever altered how Black artists approached their roles and the stories they told.

Ruby Ann Wallace was an actress, poet, writer, journalist and activist whose seven decade career garnered a Drama Desk award, an Emmy, an Obie, a Screen Actors Guild award, and a Grammy. She was nominated for a Academy Award for her performance in the 2007 film American Gangster.

In 1946, Davis and Dee met on the Broadway production of Jeb. They were married shortly thereafter and their partnership would become legendary.

Dee and Davis certainly were a force in the entertainment industry, but their involvement in the American Civil Rights movement and justice causes well into the 21st century earned them recognition as some of the most important leaders of their generation. Both were awarded a Kennedy Center honor for their contribution to the arts as well as inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame for their societal impact. Davis found a career resurgence when Spike Lee cast him in several of his movies such as Jungle Fever and Do the Right Thing, a few of which Dee also appeared in. In addition to the aforementioned Oscar nomination, Dee’s later career also saw her awarded the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2005, Davis died at the age of 87 of undisclosed causes. Dee lived to be 91 and, in 2014, died in her home surrounded by their children. Both of their ashes were placed in a single urn and buried at Ferncliff. Their grave marker reads “IN THIS THING TOGETHER.” For 57 years, they were. And our world is all the better for it.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Hillcrest; Find the path that enters the Hillcrest section to the south from the circular road and walk toward the east/west path on the far side. Shortly before this intersection, Ossie and Ruby are buried on your right, just to the west of the north/south path.


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