Legendary actress and singer Diahann Carroll has died at the age of 84. She passed away at her home in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer.
The Tony Award-winning (first Black person in a lead role to win) and Oscar-nominated actress is most known for her groundbreaking, historic roles on Julia and Dynasty.
With Julia, which premiered in 1977, she was the first Black woman ever to star in her own television series. Julia is also considered one of the first, if not the first time a Black character appeared on television in a non-stereotypical fashion. However, she perhaps is best known for the iconic role of Dominique Deveraux on the 1980s primetime soap opera, Dynasty. Carroll as Deveraux is often considered one of the greatest characters in television history.
After debuting on Broadway at just 19, the stint resulted in her first movie role, which was Carmen Jones. She later appeared on variety series such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Garry Moore Show, and she appeared on several shows such as Peter Gunn. In 1961, she starred opposite Sidney Poitier in Paris Blues. Richard Rogers wrote a musical centered around Carroll, which became the 1962 musical, No Strings.
Carroll continued to make many television and film appearances prior to her historic role in Julia. In 1974, she starred with James Earl Jones in Claudine, which netted her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. At the time, she was only the fourth Black actress to get a nod.
After Dynasty, and its spinoff, The Colbys, she went on to have roles in movies such as Maya Angelou’s Sister, Sister, The Five Heartbeats and Eve’s Bayou. She also joined A Different World.
In the late 1990s and 2000s, she continued working, primarily in television movies and miniseries, including Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story and Sally Hemings: An American Scandal. Television series she was in during this time include Soul Food and Grey’s Anatomy, and she also appeared in films like Tyler Perry Presents Peeples.
Her final role was one of the main characters in White Collar, the USA Network drama that aired from 2009-2014.
Our thoughts go out to Carroll’s family and loved ones at this time. Her impact on Black film and television will never be forgotten.
We’ll bring you more on this developing story when we get more information.
Photo: Getty Images
From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.