Davis, Ossie

Alternative names
Birth 1917-12-18
Death 2005-02-04

Biographical notes:

Ossie Davis is an actor, playwright and director who has performed for stage, film and television, and specializes in film production relating to black culture and history.

Born in 1919 in Cogdell, Georgia, Davis attended Howard University from 1938 to 1941. His theater career began in the early 1940's with such plays to his credit as "Anna Lucasta," "No Time for Sergeants," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "Purlie Victorious." Three of the many films he acted in are "The Joe Louis Story," "The Slaves," and most recently, Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing." Davis co-scripted and co-directed "Cotton Comes to Harlem." He has been acting in television programs and been doing specials since 1951, often with his wife, the actress Ruby Dee.

Ruby Dee was born in 1923 in Cleveland, Ohio and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1945 from Hunter College. She served as an apprentice with the American Negro Theatre from 1941-1944. Her interests include writing and black history and culture. She debuted in 1943 in "South Pacific," and acted in Shakespearean plays, among others. Her films include "The Jackie Robinson Story," "St. Louis Blues," and "A Raisin in the Sun." Dee's long list of television credits include "Peyton Place," "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," and "The Fight Against Slavery."

From the description of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee drama collection, 1951-1981 (bulk 1970-1979). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122607338


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Ark ID:


  • Short stories, American
  • Motion picture plays
  • African American actors
  • African Americans in the performing arts
  • African American theater
  • Screenwriters
  • African American dramatists
  • Theater
  • African American motion picture producers and directors


  • Actors


  • United States (as recorded)