A life of civil rights activism distinguishes Ossie Davis in the world of stage and screen he has conquered. He was arrested in the South for violating segregation laws, joined Martin Luther King Jr.'s national crusade and eulogized both King and Malcolm X at their funerals. Davis has been inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame and received the National Medal of Arts Award from former President Bill Clinton.
This month, Davis will host PBS' National Memorial Day Concert for the 10th year.
Davis has also been frequently honored for his television, movie and stage work. In 2001, Davis and his wife actress Ruby Dee (posing together in the above photo) received the 37th Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. Davis most recently appeared in the films Miss Evers' Boys, Dr. Doolittle, Get On The Bus, and on the CBS television series Promised Land and Touched By An Angel.
The son of a railroad engineer, Raiford Chatman Davis was born on Dec. 18, 1917, in Cogdell, Ga. His mother's pronunciation of his initials "R.C." was heard as "Ossie" and the name stuck. Davis is a graduate of Howard University.
Davis and Dee were married in 1948 and have three children.