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A visit with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

What roles would they have loved to play? How do young African American actors get started in the business today? Is the notion of a Black National Theatre practical or even feasible?

These are just a few of the questions John McCluskey Jr., professor of Afro-American Studies and English at IU Bloomington, asked award-winning actors and civil rights activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in this edition of "Conversations Online."

Married for 54 years, Davis and Dee were in Bloomington to deliver the keynote address for the Jan. 18 dedication of IU's long-awaited Theatre/Neal-Marshall Center, which houses both the Department of Theatre and Drama and the Black Culture Center.

In 1995, Davis and Dee were celebrated as "national treasures" when they received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2000, they received the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor, the Life Achievement Award.

Listen to the entire interview or listen by topic

• Introduction
What roles Ossie Davis would like to have played
• What roles Ruby Dee would like to have played
The possibilities of a National Black Theatre
• Ossie Davis' advice to aspiring performers
• Ruby Dee would like to have talked with her grandmothers and with Zora Neale Hurston
Ossie Davis would like to have talked with W.E.B. Du Bois
How to expand the audience for old black films
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee on radio

Listen to other IU Home Pages' "Conversations online"

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Publication date: January 18, 2002
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