Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1955.
|Born||Carol Diahann Johnson
July 17, 1935
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Education||Music & Art High School
New York University
(m. 1956; div. 1963)
(m. 1973; div. 1973)
(m. 1975; d. 1977)
(m. 1987; div. 1996)
|Partner(s)||David Frost (1970–1973)|
Diahann Carroll (/ /) (born Carol Diahann Johnson, July 17, 1935) is an American television and stage actress and singer known for her performances in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959) as well as on Broadway. Julia (1968) was one of the first series on American television to star a black woman in a nonstereotypical role and was followed by her portrayal of Dominique Deveraux in the primetime soap opera Dynasty over three seasons. She is the recipient of numerous stage and screen nominations and awards, including the Golden Globe Award for "Best Actress In A Television Series" in 1968. A breast cancer survivor and activist, Carroll was scheduled to return to the Broadway stage in the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun as Mama, but withdrew prior to opening citing the demands of the rehearsal and performance schedule.
Carroll was born in the Bronx, New York, to John Johnson, of Aiken, South Carolina, and Mabel (Faulk), of Bladenboro, North Carolina. When Carroll was 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, Diahann Carroll recalls her parents' support of her and that they enrolled her in dance, singing, and modeling classes. By the time Diahann Carroll was 15, she was modeling for Ebony. She was tall, with a lean model's build. After graduating from high school, Diahann Carroll attended New York University, majoring in sociology.
At the age of 18, Carroll got her big break 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, Carroll took the $1,000 top prize for her 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 rival to the sultry lead character played by Dorothy Dandridge. That same year, she starred in the Broadway musical, House of Flowers. In 1959, she played Clara in the film version of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, but her character's singing parts were dubbed by opera singer Loulie Jean Norman.
Carroll is well known for her title role in the 1968 television series Julia, which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker. That role won her the Golden Globe Award for "Best Actress In A Television Series" in 1968, and a nomination for an Emmy Award in 1969.
In 1984, Carroll joined the nighttime soap opera Dynasty as the jetsetter Dominique Deveraux, half-sister of Blake Carrington. Her high-profile role on Dynasty also reunited her with 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.
In 1991, Carrol played the role of Eleanor Potter, the wife of Jimmy Potter, portrayed by Chuck Patterson, in The Five Heartbeats, a musical drama film in which Jimmy manages a vocal group. In this role, Carroll was a doting, concerned, and protective wife alongside actor and musician Robert Townsend, Leon Michael Wright, and others. 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 classic film Sunset Boulevard. In 2001, Carroll made her animation début in The Legend of Tarzan, in which she voiced Queen La, an evil sorceress and ruler of the ancient city of Opar.
In 2006, she appeared in the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy as Jane Burke, the demanding mother of Dr. Preston Burke. In December 2008, Carroll was cast 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 entitled, 1 a Minute, and she appeared as Nana in two Lifetime movies: At Risk and The Front, movie adaptations of two Patricia Cornwell novels.
Diahann was present on stage for the 2013 Emmy Awards, to briefly speak about her retrospective of being the first African American nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She was quoted as saying, "talented Kerry Washington better win!" Washington erroneously stated that Carroll was the first black performer ever to be nominated for an Emmy. Actually, at least three black performers were nominated before Carroll, who was first nominated in 1963. These performers include: Ethel Waters for a guest appearance on Route 66, in 1962; Harry Belafonte, nominated in 1956 and 1961 and winning in 1960; and Sammy Davis, Jr., who was nominated in 1956 with Belafonte.
Carroll married four times, first to record producer Monte Kay. The union produced a daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford (born September 9, 1960), who became a freelance media journalist. In 1973, Carroll surprised the press by marrying Las Vegas boutique owner Fred Glusman. Several weeks later, she filed for divorce, charging Glusman with physical abuse. In 1975, Carroll married Robert DeLeon, a managing editor of Jet. She 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. Carroll dated and was engaged to British television host and producer David Frost from 1970 until 1973.
Carroll was a 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 drugs, alcohol or prostitution. She helped to form the group along with other female television personalities including Mary Frann, Donna Mills, Linda Gray and Joan Van Ark.
- House of Flowers (1954)
- No Strings (1962)
- Same Time, Next Year (1977)
- Black Broadway (1979) (benefit concert)
- Agnes of God (1983) (replacement for Elizabeth Ashley)
- Love Letters (1990)
- Sunset Boulevard (1995)
- Bubbling Brown Sugar (2004)
- On Golden Pond (2004) (replaced by Leslie Uggams before opening)
- A Raisin in the Sun (2014) (replaced by LaTanya Richardson before opening)
Awards and nominations
- 1962 Tony Award-Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical No Strings
- 1968 Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star – Female – Julia
- 2011 Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame
- 1969 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia
- 1963 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Naked City
- 1970 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Television Series – Julia
- 1975 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Motion Picture – Claudine
- 1975 Academy Award for Best Actress – Claudine
- 1989 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – A Different World
- 1992 Women in Film Crystal Award.
- 1998 Women in Film Lucy Award
- 1999 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Children's Special/Series – The Sweetest Gift
- 2000 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Mini-Series/Television Movie – Having a Say: The Delany Sisters' 1st 100 Years
- 2005 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Drama Series – Soul Food
- 2008 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Grey's Anatomy
- Hetrick, Adam; Gioia, Michael (February 9, 2014). "Diahann Carroll Withdraws from Broadway Revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington". Playbill. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Diahann Carroll Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- "N.Y. singer Diahann Carroll finds Cinderella-like fame". Jet. 5 (23): 60–61. April 15, 1954. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Diahann Carroll". TheGoldenGlobes.com. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
- Mitovich, Matt (December 2, 2008). "Diahann Carroll Collars Role on USA Pilot". TV Guide. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Survivor celebs to join breast cancer film premiere". Sify News. IANS. September 1, 2010. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Ethel Waters: Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Harry Belafonte: Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "Sammy Davis, Jr.: Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- Alan Feuer; William K. Rashbaum (12 March 2005). "Blood Ties: 2 Officers' Long Path to Mob Murder Indictments". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- Elizabeth Rourke (2006). "Diahann Carroll: Biography". Contemporary Black Biography. The Gale Group, Inc. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "Diahann Carroll: Biography, Photos, Movies, TV, Credits". Hollywood.com. 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- https://losangelesmission.org/give/ Retrieved 24 November 2016
- https://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/25/arts/mary-frann-55-bemused-wife-on-newhart.html Retrieved 24 November 2016
- "Past Recipients". Women In Film. Archived from the original on 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Diahann Carroll.|
- Official website
- Diahann Carroll at the Internet Broadway Database
- Diahann Carroll at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Diahann Carroll on IMDb
- Diahann Carroll at the TCM Movie Database
- The HistoryMakers Biography
- Diahann Carroll at Discogs
- Diahann Carroll's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
- Diahann Carroll Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
- Diahann Carroll interview video at the Archive of American Television