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Wed, 03.01.1899

Ruby Dandridge, Entertainer born

Ruby Dandridge

Ruby Dandridge was born on this date in 1899. She was a Black entertainer.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Ruby Jean Butler was the daughter of Nellie Simmons and George Butler. Her father was born in Jamaica in 1860 and came to the United States as a child. George Butler was a janitor at the Union National Bank, a minister, a grocer, a school principal, and an entertainer, appearing before both Black and White audiences. Not much is known about her mother, Nellie, except that she was born in 1870 and had a mixed heritage of Spanish and Indian.

Nellie and George had four children, three boys, and one daughter. Ruby went to school in Wichita and, from her father, learned dancing, singing, acrobatics, horseback riding, and a love of performing. When she was a child, she hoped to perform one day just like her father.

Her dream was put on hold when she married Cyril Dandridge in 1919, a union that was not happy. They lived with his mother, and he did not have steady work to support them. Less than two years after they married, their daughter, Vivian, was born in 1921. The birth did not improve their marriage or settle the home's tensions, and Ruby left. Still wanting his marriage to work, Cyril persuaded her to come back home, and, even though Ruby was five months pregnant, she decided to leave her husband again, this time permanently. On November 9, 1922, Ruby gave birth to her second daughter Dorothy in Cleveland's City Hospital.

After they divorced, she had a love relationship with a woman named Geneva Williams, who overworked and punished Ruby’s two daughters. As an entertainer, Ruby Dandridge is best known for her role on the radio show "Amos 'n Andy," in which she played Sadie Blake and Harriet Crawford. She also had a role in the 1959 movie "A Hole in the Head," in which she played Sally.

Ruby Dandridge died of a heart attack at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, CA., and is buried next to her daughter, Dorothy, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, CA.


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