Actress Diahann Carroll, a pioneering African-american actress on American television, died Friday, October 4th 2019 at the age of 84 after fighting for years breast cancer.
In the beginning, I found myself dealing with a show business dictated by male white supremacists and chauvinists. As a black female, I had to learn how to tap dance around the situation. I had to … find a way to present my point of view without being pushy or aggressive. In the old days, the only women I saw in this business were in makeup, hairdressing, and wardrobe departments. Now I’m surrounded by women executives, writers, directors, producers, and even women stagehands.Diahann Carroll
If we had to sum up Diahann Carroll’s life in two words, “First to” would be the most accurate.
Indeed, through her talent she had an immense impact on cinema and television, and also paved the way for the later success of younger actors.
Carroll was the first African-american woman to earn a Tony Awards for best actress, in 1962, for the role of Barbara Woodruff in the musical comedy of Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers.
She was the first African-american woman , to have the main role of an eponymous television series, Julia, in 1968. She played an african-american character who for the first time appears in a role other than a servant. Diahann Carroll won the Golden Globe Award for best actress in a television series in 1968, followed by a 1969 Emmy Award nomination.
In 1984, her career gained an international reputation. Diahann Carroll, who wanted to “be the first black bitch on television,” joined the cast of Aaron Spelling’s soap opera Dynasty.
With the role of Dominique Devereaux, Carroll embodied the first african-american and feminine dominant character of a soap opera. Her interpretation of Dominique Devereaux is still considered as one of the greatest characters in the history of television. (The recent reboot of the series made her the first black woman to be Dominique Devereaux, as well.)
Beyond her television roles, Carroll brought her talents to countless films such as: Sister, Maya Angelou’s sister, Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou or John Berry’s Claudine in 1974, which earned an Oscar nomination.
Her last role has been “June” which she brought to the screen from 2009 to 2014 for Jeff Eastin’s White Collar series.
Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.
“I like to think I opened doors for other women, although that wasn’t my original intention.”Diahann Carroll