We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!
#19: Ruby Dee
By Kathryn O’Kane
Actor and activist Ruby Dee and her husband Ossie Davis fought for civil rights from Washington, DC to Hollywood. In 1965, Dee starred in King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew, becoming the first black woman to appear in major roles at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT. Both Dee and Davis appeared in Spike Lee’s career-launching film Do The Right Thing. Throughout their careers, they often portrayed the lives of black Americans, both extraordinary and ordinary, on the stage and in film, seeking out films that explored racial inequality in America.
“The largest piece of business for humankind is poverty. Spiritual as well as material. Racism yes and sexism too…struggle is all there is, and we are still committed.” – Ruby Dee
Oscar-nominated and Brooklyn-based mother, activist, actress and producer Maggie Gyllenhaal has spent much of her career making independent films, and has accrued a body of work that is both bold and complex. From her breakout sadomasochistic role in The Secretary, to her boundary-pushing, compelling performance in The Kindergarten Teacher, Gyllenhaal has not followed the blockbuster path, opting for films that challenge the way we think.READ MORE