Actor and civil rights activist Ossie Davis, whose career spanned more than half a century, has died in Miami while working on a new movie, his office said on Friday. Davis was 87 and was found dead at his hotel, his office said. He was working on the film “Retirement.”
Davis, who was married to the actress Ruby Dee, spoke at the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and gave voice to the famous United Negro College Fund advertising slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
He and Dee received Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 for their body of work. The two often appeared in films together.
They also co-wrote a biography in the late 1990s, “With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together,” chronicling their history of activism in the civil rights movement as well as their more than 50 years as a couple. They also spoke in the book about their decision to have an open marriage. The couple had three children.
Davis broke barriers for black actors on television, stage and in the movies and developed a reputation as one of the country’s most recognizable character actors. His film credits date to the 1950s. He appeared in such movies as “Jungle Fever” and “Do the Right Thing” and TV projects like “Roots: the Next Generation” and “Evening Shade.”