- As a teenager in Harlem, studied at the America Negro Theater; classmates included Sidney Poitier, with whom she later appeared in both the 1959 Broadway production and 1961 film version of A Raisin in the Sun.
- Made her Broadway debut in a 1943 non-musical version of South Pacific.
- Met husband Ossie Davis while performing in the Broadway drama Jeb in 1946. It was the first of some 50 performances together.
- Earned recognition in the 1950 biopic The Jackie Robinson Story, as Robinson's wife, Rachel; Jackie Robinson played himself.
- Was a regular on the CBS soap opera The Guiding Light in 1967.
- With Davis, wrote a memoir, In This Life Together; has also published volumes of poetry as well as several film and stage scripts.
- With Davis, was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame (1989); was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts (1995); and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors (2004).
- Was honored at a celeb-filled bash in Harlem for her 90th birthday in October 2012 that included an excerpt from a documentary about her life with Ossie Davis produced by grandson Muta'Ali Muhammad.
- 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
- 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 2007, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 2006, Grammy — Best Spoken Word Album: Winner
- 2000, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Life Achievement Award: Winner
- 2007, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 1964, Emmy — Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special: Nominee
- 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Winner
- 2009, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
- 2007, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- Guy Davis — Son
- Edward Nathaniel Wallace — Father
- Frank Dee Brown — Ex-husband
- Gladys Hightower — Mother
- Hasna Muhammad — Daughter
- Ossie Davis — Husband (deceased)
- Nora Day — Daughter
- Emma Benson Wallace — Stepmother
- City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, New York, United States (BA, 1945)
- Birth Name: Ruby Ann Wallace
- Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
- Birthday: October 27, 1924, Scorpio
- Died: June 11, 2014
- Profession: Actor, Author, Activist
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