Diahann Carroll, an iconic actress who became the first African-American actress to ever lead a broadcast television series, died Friday at her home in Los Angeles.
She was 84 years old.
The star — who won a Tony Award, garnered an Oscar nomination and made television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty — had been diagnosed with breast cancer way back in 1997.
Her daughter, producer/journalist Suzanne Kay, confirmed the news of her mother’s passing from this disease to The Hollywood Reporter.
A native of the Bronx, Carroll was her Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for 1962’s “No Strings.”
Her historic break, however, came six years later when she was cast as the first black actress to lead a network series, anchoring NBC’s “Julia” for three seasons.
She earned the aforementioned Emmy nod, along with a Golden Globe victory, for this role of a widowed nurse raising a young son.
Despite the acclaim she received as a result of this turn, Carroll said years ago that she didn’t want to do it at first.
“I really didn’t believe that this was a show that was going to work,” she said in a 1998 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television, adding at the time:
“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.'”
Respected and admired for opening doors and eyes in Hollywood, Carroll went on to enjoy major roles in classic programs such as “Dynasty,” its spinoff, “The Colbys” and “A Different World.”
She also appeared on five epidoes of Grey’s Anatomy in 2006.
Other more recent small screen gigs includes recurring roles on Diary of a Single Mom and White Collar.
She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2011… but she was more than just an actress.
Carroll also recorded mumerous albums during her career and wrote the memoirs Diahann, published in 1986, and The Legs Are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, Mothering and Other Things I Learned Along the Way, in 2008.
Diahann Carroll is pictured here in her groundbreaking role of Julia Baker.
The veteran actress was married four times, her last husband being singer Vic Damone.
The couple divorced in 1996 — and she also famously dated talk show host David Frost for several years.
She is survived by her daughter and two grandchildren.
May Diahann Carroll rest in peace.
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