October 4, 2019


Diahann Carroll — a pioneering actress for African-Americans, — and star of the groundbreaking sitcom, “Julia,” died Friday from cancer at her home in Los Angeles.

Diahann — who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 — was a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx, who first made it big on Broadway. She won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical in 1962 for her role in “No Strings.”

Diahann Carroll: groundbreaking Oscar-nominated actor dies at 84

Actor and singer was first black woman to star in a non-servant role in a TV series and was also known for Dynasty and Grey’s Anatomy

It had its critics, though, including some who said Carroll’s character, who is the mother of a young son, was not a realistic portrayal of a black American woman in the 1960s.

“They said it was a fantasy,” Carroll recalled in 1998. “All of this was untrue. Much about the character of Julia I took from my own life, my family.”

Not shy when it came to confronting racial barriers, Carroll won her Tony portraying a high-fashion American model in Paris who has a love affair with a white American author in the 1959 Richard Rodgers musical “No Strings.” Critic Walter Kerr described her as “a girl with a sweet smile, brilliant dark eyes and a profile regal enough to belong on a coin.”