Vale: Diahann Carroll
Pioneering US actress Diahann Carroll, best known for Julia and Dynasty, has died.
Pioneering US actress Diahann Carroll, best known for Julia and Dynasty, has died, aged 84.
She died at at her home in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer.
Carroll was the first African American woman to star in her own TV series, Julia, from 1968 – 1971.
Premiering at the height of the civil rights struggle, Julia, with its decidedly apolitical, middle class heroine, was attacked by militants for being too lenient to the white community. But Carroll persevered, and the series proved popular in its three-season run, opening doors to other series led by African Americans.
“I really didn’t believe that this was a show that was going to work,” she once said. “I thought it was something that was going to leave someone’s consciousness in a very short period of time. I thought, ‘Let them go elsewhere.’
“We were saying to the country, ‘We’re going to present a very upper middle-class black woman raising her child, and her major concentration is not going to be about suffering in the ghetto.'”
Carroll made her TV debut on The Red Skelton Show following a Broadway career and appeared on other variety programs fronted by Steve Allen, Garry Moore, Jack Paar and Danny Kaye, as well as on The Ed Sulivan Show.
As the sultry fashionista Dominique Deveraux — the first prominently featured African American character on a primetime soap opera — Carroll played a much edgier character for three seasons of Dynasty and its spinoff The Colbys, delightfully dueling with fellow diva Alexis Carrington Colby (Joan Collins).
Her other TV credits included Peter Gunn, Naked City, From the Dead of Night, Roots: The Next Generation, A Different World, Lonesome Dove: The Series, Grey’s Anatomy, Diary of a Single Mom, and White Collar.
Films included Paris Blues, Goodbye Again, Hurry Sundown, The Split, Claudine -becoming only the fourth black actress to be nominated for the best actress Oscar- The Five Heartbeats, Eve’s Bayou, Peeples and documentary 1 a Minute.
There were also recordings and nightclub appearances.
Carroll was inducted into the US Television Hall of Fame in 2011.