Diana Sands

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Diana Sands
Diana Sands 1963.jpg
Carl Van Vechten portrait of Sands, 1963.
Born (1934-08-22)August 22, 1934
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died September 21, 1973(1973-09-21) (aged 39)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Leiomyosarcoma
Occupation Actress
Years active 1952–1974
Spouse(s) Lucien Happersberger (m. 1964–70)

Diana Sands (August 22, 1934 – September 21, 1973) was an American actress, perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Beneatha Younger, the sister of Sidney Poitier's character in the original stage and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1961). She also appeared in a number of dramatic television series in the sixties and seventies such as I Spy, as Davala Unawa in the 1967 The Fugitive episode "Dossier on a Diplomat", Dr. Harrison in the Outer Limits episode "The Mice", and Julia. Sands also starred in the 1963 film An Affair of the Skin as the narrator and photographer, Janice.

Biography[edit]

A member of the Actors Studio,[1] Sands' performance in the Studio's 1964 production of James Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie was a highlight of that show, and one which would be sorely missed during its subsequent London engagement when Sands had already committed to co-starring with Alan Alda in the original Broadway production of The Owl and the Pussycat (1964) for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[2] Sands was culled eight years later to provide a track for the Original New York Cast album of Free to Be... You and Me. Unfortunately, she had died by the time the ABC Afterschool Special had begun production and her previously recorded vocal track was not selected for inclusion. In 1970, Diana Sands co-starred in the Norman Jewison produced film, The Landlord, directed by Hal Ashby and starring Beau Bridges, Lee Grant, Susan Anspach, Robert Klein, Trish Van Devere, Hector Elizondo, Lou Gossett Jr., and Pearl Bailey. In his memoirs, Bob Dylan tells of meeting Ms. Sands at a party and states that she was, "an electrifying actress who I might have been secretly in love with..."[3]

As Beneatha Younger with Claudia McNeil and Sidney Poitier in the Broadway version of A Raisin in the Sun in 1959.

She was set to star in the film Claudine (1974) with James Earl Jones, however, she was too ill to accept the role and it went to her friend Diahann Carroll. She was twice nominated for a Tony Award, and twice nominated for an Emmy Award as well. She died of leiomyosarcoma at aged 39.

Selected Credits[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Year Production Role Theatre(s) Notes
1969 The Gingham Dog[4] John Golden Theatre
1968 Saint Joan[5] Joan Vivian Beaumont Theater
Tiger at the Gates[6] Cassandra Vivian Beaumont Theater
We Bombed in New Haven[7] Ruth Ambassador Theatre
1965 The Premise[8] The Premise Improvisational theatre with material by the performers.
1964 Blues for Mister Charlie[9] Juanita ANTA Playhouse Tony Award nomination, Best Featured Actress in a Play[10]
The Owl and the Pussycat[11] Doris W. ANTA Playhouse
Royale Theatre
Tony Award nomination, Best Actress in a Play[10]
1963 The Living Premise[12] Obie Award, Distinguished Performance
1962 Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright[13] Adelaide Smith Booth Theatre Theatre World Award[10]
1959 A Raisin in the Sun[14] Beneatha Younger Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Belasco Theatre
Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Drama Performance[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 280. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  2. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Venture Into Production: The Actors Studio Theatre". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 241. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  3. ^ Dylan, Bob (2004). Chronicles:Volume One. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc. p. 67. 
  4. ^ "The Gingham Dog". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  5. ^ "Saint Joan". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  6. ^ "Tiger at the Gates". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  7. ^ "We Bombed in New Haven". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  8. ^ Harrison, Paul Carter; Andrews, Bert (1989). In the Shadow of the Great White Way: Images from the Black Theatre (First ed.). New York, New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. 
  9. ^ "Blues for Mister Charlie". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  10. ^ a b c "Diana Sands". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  11. ^ "The Owl and the Pussycat". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  12. ^ "1963-64 Obie Award". United States: Infoplease. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  13. ^ "Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  14. ^ "A Raisin in the Sun". United States: Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  15. ^ "Awards for 1958-1959". United States: Outer Critics Circle Award. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 

External links[edit]