Legendary actress Ruby Dee has been starring in films—including Raisin in the Sun and Do the Right Thing—for more than 60 years. Her long list of accolades includes an Emmy® win and a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award®. Now at age 83, she has earned her first Oscar® nomination. In American Gangster, Ruby plays Mama Lucas, the mother of Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, played by Oscar-winner Denzel Washington.
"One of my granddaughters called me to say, 'You know, Grandma, you're being nominated.' I said, 'Yes, I've been nominated for a SAG award, an NAACP award, an AARP award.' Which is quite an accomplishment," Ruby says. "'And now Oscar.' I said, 'You mean, like the Oscar?' I was very excited."
Does Ruby think there's some lesson about getting her first nomination at age 83? "If you can just keep on breathing, anything is liable to happen," she jokes.