When the prolific actress and activist
Here are but five of her notable film roles.
A 1950 review by Bosley Crowther in the New York Times noted "the sincerity of the dramatization and the integrity of Mr. Robinson playing himself" and Dee's "well restrained" performance.
Forty years later, Dee would play Robinson's mother in the TV movie "The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson."
"A Raisin in the Sun" (1961): After starring in Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking 1959 Broadway drama about the struggles of a black family on Chicago's South Side, Dee reprised her role as the burdened wife Ruth Younger in the film adaptation, along with Sidney Poitier and many of their cast mates.
Edith Oliver wrote in the New Yorker that Dee was "even more impressive" on screen than she was on stage, and Dee's performance earned her a a National Board of Review Award for best supporting actress.
"Do the Right Thing" (1989): Dee was introduced to a younger generation of moviegoers through two of
In "Do the Right Thing," which chronicled the street life and simmering racial tensions in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Dee played the gossipy widow Mother Sister, while Davis played Da Mayor, the the philosophizing town drunk. Dee and Davis each won
"American Gangster" (2007): Dee made the most of her screen time in "American Gangster," Ridley Scott's biopic about drug lord Frank Lucas (
Dee, then 83, won a