Diahann Carroll: American actress, singer, model and activist (born: 1935 - died: 2019) | Biography, Filmography, Discography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Diahann Carroll
American actress, singer, model and activist

Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress, singer, model and activist
Was Actor Model Television actor Stage actor Film actor Singer
From United States of America
Field Fashion Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 17 July 1935, The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Death 4 October 2019, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA (aged 84 years)
Star sign Cancer
Spouse: Vic Damone (1987-1996)Monte Kay (1956-1963)
New York University
High School of Music & Art
Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame 1976
Crystal Award 1992
Lucy Award 1998
Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical 1962
star on Hollywood Walk of Fame  
The details (from wikipedia)


Diahann Carroll (/dˈæn/; born Carol Diann Johnson; July 17, 1935 – October 4, 2019) was an American actress, singer, model, and activist. She rose to prominence in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959). In 1962, Carroll won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, a first for an African American woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings. In 1974 she starred in Claudine alongside James Earl Jones for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1978 she guest starred in the "Star Wars Holiday Special" singing "This Minute Now" - as a hologram created by a virtual reality machine.

Her title role in Julia, for which she received the 1968 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In a Television Series, was the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role, was a milestone both in her career and the medium. In the 1980s, she played the role of Dominique Deveraux, a mixed-race diva, in the prime time soap opera Dynasty. Carroll was the recipient of numerous stage and screen nominations and awards, including her Tony Award in 1962, Golden Globe Award in 1968 and five Emmy Award nominations. She died on October 4, 2019, from breast cancer.

Early years

Carroll, by Carl Van Vechten, 1955

Carol Diann Johnson was born in the Bronx, New York City, on July 17, 1935, to John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel (Faulk), a nurse. While Carroll was still an infant, the family moved to Harlem, where she grew up. She attended Music and Art High School, and was a classmate of Billy Dee Williams. In many interviews about her childhood, Carroll recalls her parents' support, and their enrolling her in dance, singing, and modeling classes. By the time Carroll was 15, she was modeling for Ebony. "She also began entering television contests, including Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, under the name Diahann Carroll." After graduating from high school, she attended New York University, where she majored in sociology, "but she left before graduating to pursue a show-business career, promising her family that if the career did not materialize after two years, she would return to college."


Carroll's big break came at age 18, when she appeared as a contestant on the DuMont Television Network program, Chance of a Lifetime, hosted by Dennis James. On the show, which aired January 8, 1954, she took the $1,000 top prize for a rendition of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song, "Why Was I Born?" She went on to win the following four weeks. Engagements at Manhattan's Café Society and Latin Quarter nightclubs soon followed.

Carroll's film debut was a supporting role in Carmen Jones (1954), as a friend to the sultry lead character played by Dorothy Dandridge. That same year, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in the Broadway musical, House of Flowers. A few years later, she played Clara in the film version of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (1959), but her character's singing parts were dubbed by opera singer Loulie Jean Norman. The following year, Carroll made a guest appearance in the series Peter Gunn, in the episode "Sing a Song of Murder" (1960). In the next two years, she starred with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward in the film Paris Blues (1961) and won the 1962 Tony Award for best actress (the first time for a Black woman) for portraying Barbara Woodruff in the Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers musical No Strings. Twelve years later, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role alongside James Earl Jones in the film Claudine (1974), which part had been written specifically for actress Diana Sands (who had made guest appearances on Julia as Carroll's cousin Sara), but shortly before filming was to begin, Sands learned she was terminally ill with cancer. Sands attempted to carry on with the role, but as filming began, she became too ill to continue and recommended her friend Carroll take over the role. Sands died in September 1973, before the film's release in April 1974.

Carroll and Sammy Davis Jr. on The Hollywood Palace, 1968

Carroll is known for her titular role in the television series Julia (1968), which made her the first African-American actress to star in her own television series who did not play a domestic worker. That role won her the Golden Globe Award for "Best Actress In A Television Series" for its first year, and a nomination for an Emmy Award in 1969. Some of Carroll's earlier work also included appearances on shows hosted by Johnny Carson, Judy Garland, Merv Griffin, Jack Paar, and Ed Sullivan, and on The Hollywood Palace variety show. In 1984, Carroll joined the nighttime soap opera Dynasty as the mixed-race jet set diva Dominique Deveraux, Blake Carrington's half-sister. Her high-profile role on Dynasty also reunited her with her schoolmate Billy Dee Williams, who briefly played her onscreen husband Brady Lloyd. Carroll remained on the show until 1987, simultaneously making several appearances on its short-lived spin-off, The Colbys. She received her third Emmy nomination in 1989 for the recurring role of Marion Gilbert in A Different World.

Carroll portrayed Eleanor Potter, the doting, concerned, and protective wife of Jimmy Potter (portrayed by Chuck Patterson), in The Five Heartbeats (1991), a musical drama film also featuring actor and musician Robert Townsend, and Michael Wright. In a 1995 reunion with Billy Dee Williams in Lonesome Dove: The Series, she played Mrs. Greyson, the wife of Williams' character. In 1996, Carroll starred as the self-loving and deluded silent movie star Norma Desmond in the Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of the film Sunset Boulevard. In 2001, Carroll made her animation début in The Legend of Tarzan, in which she voiced Queen La, ruler of the ancient city of Opar.

In 2006, Carroll appeared in the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy as Jane Burke, the demanding mother of Dr. Preston Burke. From December 2008, she appeared in USA Network's series White Collar as June, the savvy widow who rents out her guest room to Neal Caffrey. In 2010, Carroll was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment's breast cancer docudrama titled 1 a Minute, and she appeared as Nana in two Lifetime movie adaptations of Patricia Cornwell novels: At Risk and The Front.

In 2013, Carroll was present on stage for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, to briefly speak about being the first African-American nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She was quoted as saying about Kerry Washington, nominated for Scandal, "she better get this award."

Personal life

Carroll was married four times. Her father boycotted the ceremony for her first wedding, in 1956, to record producer Monte Kay, which was presided over by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. The marriage ended in 1962. Carroll gave birth to her daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford (born September 9, 1960), who became a journalist and screenwriter.

In 1959, Carroll began a nine-year affair with the married actor Sidney Poitier. In her autobiography, Carroll said Poitier persuaded her to divorce her husband and said he would leave his wife to be with her. While she proceeded with her divorce, Poitier did not keep his part of the bargain. Eventually he divorced his wife. According to Poitier, their relationship ended because he wanted to live with Carroll for six months without her daughter present so he would not be "jumping from one marriage straight into another." She refused.

Carroll dated and was engaged to British television host and producer David Frost from 1970 until 1973. In 1973, Carroll surprised the press by marrying Las Vegas boutique owner Fred Glusman. After four months of marriage Glusman filed for divorce in June 1973. Carroll filed a response, but did not contest the divorce, which was finalized two months later. Glusman was reportedly physically abusive.

On May 25, 1975, Carroll then age 39, married Robert DeLeon, the 24-year old managing editor of Jet magazine. They met when DeLeon assigned himself to a cover story on Carroll about her 1975 Oscar nomination for Claudine. DeLeon had a child from a previous marriage. Carroll moved to Chicago where Jet was headquartered, but DeLeon soon quit his job so the couple relocated to Oakland. Carroll was widowed two years later when DeLeon was killed in a car crash. Carroll's fourth marriage was to singer Vic Damone in 1987. The union, which Carroll admitted was turbulent, had a legal separation in 1991, reconciliation, and divorce in 1996.

Charitable work

Carroll was a founding member of the Celebrity Action Council, a volunteer group of celebrity women who served the women's outreach of the Los Angeles Mission, working with women in rehabilitation from problems with alcohol, drugs, or prostitution. She helped to form the group along with other female television personalities including Mary Frann, Linda Gray, Donna Mills, and Joan Van Ark.

Illness, death, and memorial

Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She said the diagnosis "stunned" her, because there was no family history of breast cancer, and she had always led a healthy lifestyle. She underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy and had been clear for years after the diagnosis. She frequently spoke of the need for early detection and prevention of the disease. She died on October 4, 2019, in Los Angeles, aged 84.

Carroll was saluted in a star studded memorial on November 24, 2019 at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York City where she was lauded for her trailblazing work in entertainment.



Year Title Role Notes
1954 Carmen Jones Myrt
1959 Porgy and Bess Clara
1961 Goodbye Again Night Club Singer
Paris Blues Connie Lampson
1967 Hurry Sundown Vivian Turlow
1968 The Split Ellen "Ellie" Kennedy
1974 Claudine Claudine
1990 Mo' Better Blues Jazz Club Singer Uncredited
1991 The Five Heartbeats Eleanor Potter
1992 Color Adjustment Herself
1997 Eve's Bayou Elzora
2007 RiffTrax: The Star Wars Holiday Special Mermeia
2013 Tyler Perry Presents Peeples Nana Peeples
2016 The Masked Saint Ms. Edna (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes Ref
1954 Chance of a Lifetime Herself Four consecutive weeks as a contestant
1954 The Red Skelton Hour Herself 1 episode
1955 General Electric Theater Anna Episode: "Winner by Decision"
1957–61 The Jack Paar Tonight Show Herself 28 episodes
1957–68 The Ed Sullivan Show Herself 9 episodes
1959–62 The Garry Moore Show Herself 8 episodes
1960 Peter Gunn Dina Wright Episode: "Sing a Song of Murder"
1960 The Man in the Moon TV movie
1962 What's My Line? Mystery Guest Episode: Diahann Carroll
1962 Naked City Ruby Jay Episode: "A Horse Has a Big Head!"
1963 The Eleventh Hour Stella Young Episode: "And God Created Vanity"
1963–75 The Merv Griffin Show Herself 2 episodes
1964 The Judy Garland Show Herself Episode 21
1964–69 The Hollywood Palace Herself 10 episodes
1965 The Dean Martin Show Herself 1 Episode (First Dean Martin Show
1967–71 The Carol Burnett Show Herself 2 episodes
1968–71 Julia Julia Baker 86 episodes
1972–86 The Dick Cavett Show Herself 3 episodes
1972 The New Bill Cosby Show Herself 1 episode
1975 Death Scream Betty May TV movie
1976 The Diahann Carroll Show Herself 4 episodes
1977 The Love Boat Roxy Blue Episode: "Isaac the Groupie"
1977–78 Hollywood Squares Herself 11 episodes
1978 Star Wars Holiday Special Mermeia Holographic Christmas Special
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Zeona Haley Episode: Part VI (1939-1950)
1979 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Vivian TV movie
1982 Sister, Sister Carolyne Lovejoy TV movie
1984–87 Dynasty Dominique Deveraux 74 episodes
1985–86 The Colbys Dominique Deveraux 7 episodes
1989 From the Dead of Night Maggie Television Movie
1989–93 A Different World Marion Gilbert 9 episodes
1990 Murder in Black and White Margo Stover Television Movie
1991 Sunday in Paris Vernetta Chase TV short
1993 The Sinbad Show Mrs. Winters Episode: "My Daughter's Keeper"
1994 Burke's Law Grace Gibson Episode: "Who Killed the Beauty Queen?"
1994 Evening Shade Ginger Episode: "The Perfect Woman"
1994–95 Lonesome Dove: The Series Ida Grayson 7 episodes
1994 A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle Lydia Bishop TV Movie
1995 Touched by an Angel Grace Willis Episode: "The Driver"
1998 The Sweetest Gift Mrs. Wilson TV Movie
1999 Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years Sadie Delany TV movie
1999 Jackie's Back Herself TV movie
1999 Twice in a Lifetime Jael 2 episodes
2000 The Courage to Love Pouponne TV movie
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Betty Hemings Miniseries
2000 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Crow Episode: "Aesop's Fables: A Whodunit Musical"
2000 Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story Maria Cole TV movie
2001 The Legend of Tarzan Queen La Voice, 3 episodes
2002 The Court Justice DeSett 6 episodes
2002 Half & Half Grandma Ruth Thorne Episode: "The Big Thanks for Forgiving Episode"
2003 Strong Medicine Eve Morton Episode: "Love and Let Die"
2003–04 Soul Food Aunt Ruthie 2 episodes
2004 Whoopi Viveca Rae Episode: "Mother's Little Helper"
2006–07 Grey's Anatomy Jane Burke 5 episodes
2008 Back to You Sandra Jenkins Episode: "Hug & Tell"
2008 Over the River...Life of Lydia Maria Child, Abolitionist for Freedom Narrator Documentary
2009–14 White Collar June Ellington 25 episodes
2010 At Risk Nana Mary TV movie
2010 The Front Nana Evelyn TV movie
2010 Diahann Carroll:
The Lady. The Music. The Legend
Herself Filmed live in concert in Palm Springs, California
2010–11 Diary of a Single Mom Jane Marco 7 episodes


Year Title Role Venue Ref.
1954 House of Flowers Ottillie (alias Violet) Alvin Theatre, Broadway
1962 No Strings Barbara Woodroff 54th Street Theatre, Broadway
1977 Same Time, Next Year Doris Huntington Hartford Theatre
1979 Black Broadway Performer Benefit concert
1983 Agnes of God Dr. Martha Livingstone Music Box Theatre, Broadway
1990 Love Letters Melissa Gardner Los Angeles Production
1995 Sunset Boulevard Norma Desmond Ford Centre, Toronto
1999 The Vagina Monologues Performer Westside Theatre, Off-Broadway
2004 Bubbling Brown Sugar Performer Theater of the Stars, Atlanta
2004 On Golden Pond Ethel Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
2007 Both Sides Now Performer Feinstein's at the Regency, New York


  • Diahann Carroll Sings Harold Arlen Songs (1957)
  • Best Beat Forward (1958)
  • The Persian Room Presents Diahann Carroll (1959)
  • Porgy and Bess (1959) (with the André Previn Trio)
  • The Magic of Diahann Carroll (with the André Previn Trio) (1960)
  • Fun Life (1961)
  • Modern Jazz Quartet — The Comedy (1962)
  • Showstopper! (1962)
  • The Fabulous Diahann Carroll (1962)
  • You're Adorable: Love Songs for Children (1967)
  • Nobody Sees Me Cry (1967)
  • Diahann Carroll (1974)
  • A Tribute to Ethel Waters (1978)
  • The Time of My Life (1997)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1962 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical No Strings Won
1974 Academy Award Best Actress Claudine Nominated
1963 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Naked City Nominated
1969 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Julia Nominated
1989 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series A Different World Nominated
2008 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Grey's Anatomy Nominated
1999 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Children's Special/Series The Sweetest Gift Nominated
1968 Golden Globe Awards Best Female - TV Star Julia Won
1969 Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
1975 Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Motion Picture Claudine Nominated
  • 2011: Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame
  • 1992: Women in Film Crystal Award.
  • 1998: Women in Film Lucy Award
  • 2000: NAACP Image Award — Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years
  • 2005: NAACP Image Award — Soul Food
  • 2016: Hollywood Legacy Award
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 29 Nov 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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