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Ruby Dee passes

October 27, 1922 — June 11, 2014

Cultural icon and beloved actor Ruby Dee is no longer among us. She was best known for her film portrayal in 1961 of the achingly vulnerable, nonetheless strong-willed Ruth of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun, sharing the screen with Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil and Dianna Sands, a role she’d originated on Broadway two year earlier. From 1946 to 2013, she appeared in upwards of 150 screen and television roles, including star turns in American Gangster with Denzel Washington, Stephen King’s The Stand, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever with Wesley Snipes, her husband Ossie Davis and Samuel L. Jackson, along with then up-and-coming Halle Berry, Cat People with Nastassja Kinski, The Jackie Robinson Story and The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson. A devoted activist, she combined with her acting career a passion for progress in the fight for civil rights, also appearing on the 1960s drama Police Woman (NBC) as a character clearly based on Angela Davis. During the ‘60s she helped African American actors and directors break into the business by lending her profile to such politically charged projects as Gone Are the Days and The Incident. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins



Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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