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RIP Queen: Diahann Carroll’s 5 Most Iconic Moments



The world lost a legend today — famed actress/singer, Diahann Carroll died in her Los Angeles homes on Friday after a long bout with cancer. Ms. Carroll was 84-years-old.

Although Diahann’s presence will undoubtedly be missed, she does leave behind the legacy of an incredible career. With her various roles on the small screen, big screen, and the broadway stage, Ms. Carroll broke barriers, open doors, and made history! Here are her top 5 most iconic moments…


Carroll changed Hollywood with her first major television role. As Julia Baker on “Julia,” Diahann became the first African-American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series, for playing a upper middle-class woman, raising her child and dating well-to-do men. The role garnered Carroll an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for her work.


“Claudine” was Carroll’s major movie breakout role. This was a complete departure from her “Julia” character. Claudine was a Harlem woman on welfare who raised six children on her own and falls in love with a garbage collector (James Earl Jones). And although many folks were concerned with whether or not she could pull it off, she ended up being nominated for an Academy Award for the role!


The role of fashionista Dominique Deveraux on “Dynasty” was another history-making role for Ms. Carroll — “the first prominently featured African-American character on a primetime soap opera.” This time around Carroll’s character was an edgy diva who delighted in being a bitch, which was exactly what Diahann wanted. “I want to be wealthy and ruthless … I want to be the first black bitch on television,” she told People magazine in 1984.


The 1962 play “No Strings” was written specifically for Carroll by Richard Rodgers. In the Broadway hit, the actress played a fashion model who fell for a white novelist played by Richard Kiley. It brought Carroll rave reviews and a Tony Award, the first given to a black woman for best actress in a lead role of a musical.


Diahann took her talents to “A Different World” and our lives were forever changed. Playing Whitley Gilbert’s mother Marion, Carroll brought her classic poise and grace to the character and it was easy to see where Whitley got it from.

RIP Diahann Carroll. Our last interview with the legendary actress was at the 2016 American Black Film Festival where she spoke about continuing to do the work in our community.

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