"I believe that human beings are like members of a cosmic orchestra. Each of us has a vibration and a sound. Each of us is a different instrument and as an actor, what I'm supposed to do is to hear the sounds and the silences and find the rhythms of the people."
About This Interview
Ruby Dee was interviewed for nearly two hours in New Rochelle, NY. Dee talks about her start in show business as an actress in feature films and on Broadway, and describes the experience of being an African-American lead actress working in series television — a rare sight in the 1950s and '60s. She discusses her early television work, such as her regular role in the soap opera Guiding Light (as "Martha Frazier"). Dee details her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, recounts her friendships with Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and shares how Sidney Poitier used to hold get-togethers for the Movement's key individuals. She outlines her numerous roles in television movies and miniseries in the 1970s including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Roots: The Next Generations, which she and husband Ossie Davis helped bring to the small screen. She also talks of her many collaborations with Davis, including their radio show, With Ossie and Ruby (1981-82). Harold Dow conducted the interview on May 15, 2000.