Friday, February 04, 2005

A true man of honor: Ossie Davis (1917-2005)

Most show business people are merely that — show business people. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

But Raiford Chatman "Ossie" Davis and his wife of 56 years, Ruby Dee, have always been more than just "show folk."

Ossie Davis has been an accomplished and honored actor, playwright, screenwriter, and director, but he has also been at the forefront of the civil rights movement since before most people knew such a movement was going on. He and Ms. Dee campaigned both publicly and behind the scenes, not only for racial equality, but against social injustice of every manner and kind.

A man of deep principle, Mr. Davis stood up for the accused spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and for the often-scorned actor and singer Paul Robeson, yet avoided the McCarthy-era blacklist. He delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X, and reprised it in Spike Lee's biopic of Malcolm's life. He was also one of the speakers at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee stood together in a place of unique honor in the American entertainment community, as witnessed last year when they were honored jointly at the Kennedy Center.

Now Ossie Davis is gone, at age 87.

The world — not just the entertainment world, but the world as a whole — is diminished by his passing.

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

This is the 2nd blog I looked at in the last minute that wrote about Ossie's passing. I am pleasantly surprised.

2:13 PM  

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