Dee died peacefully Wednesday at her New Rochelle, New York, home, 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. The couple were master and mistress of ceremonies at the 1963 March on Washington, and she was friends with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Dee received the Frederick Douglass Award in 1970 from the New York Urban League.
As an actress, her film credits included "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950), "A Raisin in the Sun" (1961), "Buck and the Preacher" (1972), "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and "American Gangster" (2007).
Dee earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in "Gangster." She also won an Emmy and Grammy for other work.Dee through the years Photos: People we lost in 2014
Broadway star Audra McDonald paid tribute to Dee when she accepted a Tony Award on Sunday, crediting Dee, Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll and Billie Holiday for making her career possible. McDonald won a best actress Tony in 2004 for playing the same role Dee created on Broadway in 1959 and in the 1961 film version of "Raisin."
In a statement, Gil Robertson IV of the African American Film Critics Association praised Dee's contributions.
"The members of the African American Film Critics Association are deeply saddened at the loss of actress and humanitarian Ruby Dee," said Robertson. "Throughout her seven-decade career, Ms. Dee embraced different creative platforms with her various interpretations of black womanhood and also used her gifts to champion for Human Rights. Her strength, courage and beauty will be greatly missed reports CNN Entertainment."