Oscar-nominated actress Diahann Carroll is dead at 84

Diahann Carroll Dead At 84

She was also the first black actress to win the best actress Tony Award, which she did in 1962 for her performance in the Broadway musical No Strings.

In the 1980s, she appeared in the long-running prime-time soap opera "Dynasty" for three years.

After Julia ended in 1971, Ms. Carroll followed up her screen career with another acclaimed title role, in the 1974 Harlem-set movie Claudine.

While recuperating after starring on Broadway in Agnes of God, Carroll had found herself digging Dynasty - "Isn't this the biggest hoot?" she said - and lobbied producer Aaron Spelling for a role on his series. More recently, she had a number of guest shots and small roles in TV series, including playing the mother of Isaiah Washington's character, Dr. Preston Burke, on 'Grey's Anatomy'.

Her film career was sporadic.

Her early recordings include Porgy and Bess with the Andre Previn Trio, Diahann Carroll Sings Harold Arlen, Best Beat Forward and Showstopper.

After having seen her in House of Flowers, songwriter Richard Rodgers promised he would one day write a vehicle for Carroll. She performed on the variety show Chance of a Lifetime at 18, and was booked at nightclubs as a singer due to her show-stopping performance of the song Why Was I Born?

This May 8, 2013 file photo shows Diahann Carroll at the world premiere of "Peeples" in Los Angeles. They felt that [African Americans] didn't have that many opportunities on television or in film to present our plight as the underdog ... they felt the [real-world] suffering was much too acute to be so trivial as to present a middle-class woman who is dealing with the business of being a nurse.

"The studio had only dealt with the little American girls or European girls", Carroll said. "But I'm enormously proud of that show", Carroll shared with People magazine in 2008 regarding her work on Julia. She attended New York University, studying psychology before leaving to pursue performing full-time. Her father was a subway conductor and her mother a homemaker.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy.

In her 1998 memoir Diahann, Carroll traced her turbulent romantic life, which included liaisons with Harry Belafonte, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr, Sidney Poitier and David Frost.

Her film career was sporadic. Another memorable role was Marion Gilbert, as the haughty mother of Whitley Gilbert (played by Jasmine Guy) on the TV series "A Different World".

"She was a mentor, trailblazer and dynamic talent that single handed integrated the Union by demanding to have a black hairdresser do her hair on her groundbreaking show "Julia".

Carroll was married four times to Monte Kay (1956-1963), Freddie Glusman (1973), Robert DeLeon (1975-1977 when he died in a auto accident), and Vic Damone (1987-1996). Carroll also has two grandchildren August and Sydney.

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