Friday, October 4, 2019
Very sad news today...
Diahann Carroll, TV’s history-making star of NBC’s 1960s sitcom Julia and Broadway’s first black Tony Award-winner in a leading role for the 1962 musical No Strings, died today of cancer. The Dynasty star was 84.
Already a popular stage and nightclub performer when she signed on to star in Julia, Carroll is credited with being the first African-American actress to lead a primetime series in a non-stereotypical role, and the first overall since Beulah, the 1950s sitcom about a maid.
Julia became an immediate hit when it launched in September 1968, finishing at No. 7 among all primetime programs that season, and won Carroll a 1968 Best Actress/TV Golden Globe Award. The series was canceled after the 1971 season. Carroll would go on to earn three additional primetime Emmy nominations for roles in Naked City (1963), A Different World (1989) and Grey’s Anatomy (2008). She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1999 for the children’s special The Sweetest Gift.
Various TV appearances followed (Roots: The Next Generations, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, even the destined-for-cult-classic-status The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978), but Carroll’s next pioneering move came with her portrayal of Dominique Deveraux, first in 1984 on Dynasty and, later, crossing over to the show’s spin-off The Colbys.
Though perhaps most widely known for her TV roles – she was a 2011 inductee in the Television Hall of Fame – Carroll was a longstanding and celebrated stage actress, following up House of Flowers and No Strings with a 1982 stint in Broadway’s Agnes of God and 1999’s Off Broadway landmark feminist production The Vagina Monologues. She again defied expectations in 1995 by starring as Norma Desmond in the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset Boulevard.
She was always enjoyable to watch and had a wonderfully long and successful career.
She will be missed.