- Named after his paternal grandfather. Was nicknamed R.C., but a misunderstanding by a courthouse clerk got him the moniker Ossie.
- First appeared on Broadway in the 1946 production of Jeb, where he met his future wife, Ruby Dee.
- In 1961, wrote the play Purlie Victorious: A Comedy in Three Acts. It was made into a movie in 1963, with him as the lead actor, and reworked yet again in 1970 for the Broadway musical Purlie.
- Helped organize the civil rights movement's 1963 March on Washington.
- Delivered the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral in 1965.
- Howard University gave him an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1973.
- Authored several books, including Just Like Martin in 1992, and With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, with his wife, in 1998.
- Inducted into the NAACP's Hall of Fame in 1989.
- With his wife, received the National Medal of Arts Lifetime Honors in 1995; a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2000; and Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.
- Often acted alongside his wife.
- 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
- 1969, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 1969, Emmy — Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 1970, Tony — Musical: Nominee
- 2006, Grammy — Best Spoken Word Album: Winner
- 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1958, Tony — Actor, Supporting or Featured (Musical): Nominee
- 2000, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Life Achievement Award: Winner
- William Davis — Brother
- Ruby Dee — Wife
- Hasna Muhammad — Daughter
- Laura Davis — Mother
- Guy Davis — Son
- Nora Day — Daughter
- Kince Charles Davis — Father
- Attended Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States; attended Columbia University, New York, New York, United States
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