Dee died peacefully at her New Rochelle, New York, home Wednesday, according to her representative, Michael Livingston.
Dee, often with her late husband Ossie Davis, was a formidable force in both the performing arts community and the civil rights movement. She was friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and received the Frederick Douglass Award in 1970 from the National Urban League.
Dee, whose seven-decade career included triumphs on stage and on screen, also earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in "American Gangster" in 2007.
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