July 17, 1935 – October 4, 2019
Our pioneer, ground breaker, inspiration, muse, role model, pillar of Entertainment excellence has passed on. Job well done!
Carol Diahann Johnson, like so many significant others in our lives is widely regarded as an American Hero. A trailblazer who instinctively paved the way for ALL of us who engage in this Entertainment medium.
Her track record speaks for itself and is the sole reason why we will miss her sorely – until we meet again.
Diahann Carroll born Carol Diahann Johnson; July 17, 1935 – October 4, 2019) was an American actress, singer, and model. She rose to stardom in performances in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones in 1954 and Porgy and Bess in 1959. In 1962, Carroll won a Tony Award for best actress, a first for a black woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings.
Her 1968 debut in Julia, the first series on American television to star a black woman in a nonstereotypical role,was a milestone both in her career and the medium. In the 1980s she played the role of Dominique Deveraux, a mixed-race diva, in the prime time soap opera Dynasty.
Carroll was the recipient of numerous stage and screen nominations and awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In A Television Series in 1968. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for the 1974 film Claudine. She was also a breast cancer survivor and activist.
Carrol Diahann Johnson was born in the Bronx, New York City, on July 17, 1935, to John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel (Faulk), a nurse.When Carroll was an infant, the family moved to Harlem, where she grew up. She attended Music and Art High School, and was a classmate of Billy Dee Williams. In many interviews about her childhood, Diahann Carroll recalls her parents’ support, enrolling her in dance, singing, and modeling classes. By the time Carroll was 15, she was modeling for Ebony. “She also began entering television contests, including “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” under the name Diahann Carroll.” After graduating from high school, she attended New York University, majoring in sociology, “but she left before graduating to pursue a show-business career, promising her family that if the career did not materialize after two years, she would return to college.” Carroll’s big break came at 18, when she appeared as a contestant on the DuMont Television Network program, Chance of a Lifetime, hosted by Dennis James. On the show, which aired January 8, 1954, she took the $1,000 top prize for a rendition of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song, “Why Was I Born?” She went on to win the following four weeks. Engagements at Manhattan’s Café Society and Latin Quarter nightclubs soon followed.
Carroll’s film debut was a supporting role in Carmen Jones (1954) as a friend to the sultry lead character played by Dorothy Dandridge. That same year, she starred in the Broadway musical, House of Flowers. In 1959, she played Clara in the film version of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, but her character’s singing parts were dubbed by opera singer Loulie Jean Norman. She made a guest appearance in the series Peter Gunn, in the 1960 episode “Sing a Song of Murder”. She starred with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward in the 1961 film Paris Blues. In 1962, Carroll won the Tony Award for best actress (a first for a black woman) for the role of Barbara Woodruff in the Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers musical No Strings.
In 1974, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the film Claudine. The role of Claudine had been written specifically for actress Diana Sands (who had made guest appearances on Julia as Carroll’s cousin Sara), but shortly before filming was to begin, Sands found out that she was terminally ill with cancer. Sands attempted to carry on with the role, but as filming began, she became too ill to continue, and recommended her friend Carroll take over the role. Sands would not live to see Claudine. She died in September 1973; Claudine, starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, was released in April 1974.
Carroll is well known for her titular role in the 1968 television series Julia, which made her the first African-American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker. That role won her the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress In A Television Series” in 1968, and a nomination for an Emmy Award in 1969.
Some of her earlier work also included appearances on shows hosted by Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Judy Garland, and Ed Sullivan, and on The Hollywood Palace variety show. In 1984, Carroll joined the nighttime soap opera Dynasty as the mixed-race jet set diva Dominique Deveraux, half-sister of Blake Carrington. Her high-profile role on Dynasty also reunited her with schoolmate Billy Dee Williams, who briefly played her onscreen husband Brady Lloyd. Carroll remained on the show until 1987, simultaneously making several appearances on its short-lived spin-off, The Colbys. She received her third Emmy nomination in 1989 for the recurring role of Marion Gilbert in A Different World.
In 1991, Carroll played the role of Eleanor Potter, the wife of Jimmy Potter, portrayed by Chuck Patterson, in The Five Heartbeats, a musical drama film in which Jimmy manages a vocal group. In this role, Carroll was a doting, concerned, and protective wife alongside actor and musician Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, and others. In a 1995 reunion with Billy Dee Williams in Lonesome Dove: The Series, she played Mrs. Greyson, the wife of Williams’ character. In 1996, Carroll starred as the self-loving and deluded silent movie star Norma Desmond in the Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of the classic film Sunset Boulevard. In 2001, Carroll made her animation début in The Legend of Tarzan, in which she voiced Queen La, an evil sorceress and ruler of the ancient city of Opar.
Read more – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diahann Carroll
Without Diahann our roads to success are rocky at best!
R.E. Classics will never forget!