Award-winning actress-singer Diahann Carroll succumbed to cancer today, October 4, 2019. Carroll’s daughter, Susan Kay, told The Associated Press that her mother died of cancer on Friday in her Los Angeles home.
Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. She left us on October 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA.
She was the second African-American actress to star in her own TV show, Julia, after Beulah starring Ethel Waters. Like Nichelle Nichols two years earlier in Star Trek, Ms. Carroll played a professional woman rather than a maid. Julia was about a single mother, a nurse who had been widowed by the Vietnam War.
Like Nichelle Nichols, Carroll used a combination of beauty and talent to overcome the racial prejudices of the Sixties. She won a Tony on Broadway for her role in Richard Rodgers’ No Strings. She was the first African-American woman to win a Tony. She also won a Golden Globe Award for playing Julia Baker, RN on television. She was nominated for five Emmy Awards between 1963 and 2008. She won the NAACP Image Award twice and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011. She was nominated for an Oscar for starring in Claudine.
She also appeared in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978 as Mermeia, a holograph performer .
She was active on television, in theater, and on film for decades, as well as a popular recording artist. Some of her major roles included Dominique Devaraux in The Colbys and Dynasty, Marion Gilbert in A Different World, Jane Burke in Grey’s Anatomy, the voice of Queen La in The Legend of Tarzan, and June in White Collar.
We all know Uhura inspired Whoopi Goldberg as an actress and Dr. Mae Jemison as an astronaut. She may have also paved the way for Diahann Carroll to play a nurse in Julia.
Diahann Carroll was married four times, and had one daughter, Susan Kay. She lived a long, full life full of commercial and artistic success, and will be long remembered.