Hand color tinted photo of Diahann Carroll
Diahann Carroll (born July 17, 1935, in New York, New York) is an American actress and singer.
Having appeared in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts such as Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess, she starred in 1968’s Julia, one of the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role. Later she created the role of Dominique Deveraux on the popular prime time soap opera, Dynasty.
She is the recipient of numerous stage and screen awards and nominations. Carroll has been married four times and became the mother of a daughter in 1960. She is a breast cancer survivor and activist.
Carroll was born Carol Diahann Johnson in The Bronx, New York, to John Johnson and Mabel Faulk. Her family moved to the Harlem neighborhood of New York City when she was an infant. She attended Music & Art High School, along with schoolmate Billy Dee Williams.
Carroll’s film debut was a supporting role in Carmen Jones (1954) as a friend of the sultry lead character. She then starred in the Broadway musical, House of Flowers. In 1959, she played Clara in the film version of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, but her character’s singing parts were dubbed by opera singer Loulie Jean Norman. In 1962 she won the Tony Award for best actress (a first for a black woman) for the role of Barbara Woodruff in the Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers musical No Strings. In 1974, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Claudine.
Carroll is best 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. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1969, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In A Television Series” in 1968. Her first Emmy nomination had come in 1963 for Naked City. Some of her other earlier work included appearances on shows hosted by Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Judy Garland and Ed Sullivan, and on The Hollywood Palace variety show.
In 1984, Carroll joined the nighttime soap opera Dynasty as the jetsetter Dominique Deveraux, half-sister of Blake Carrington played by actor John Forsythe. Her high profile role on Dynasty also reunited her with actor 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 spinoff, The Colbys.
She received her third Emmy nomination in 1989 for the recurring role of Marion Gilbert in A Different World. In 2006, she appeared in the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy as Jane Burke, the demanding mother of Dr. Preston Burke.
She appeared as Nana in 2010 Lifetime Movies “At Risk” and “The Front”, movie adaptations of two Patricia Cornwell novels.
Carroll starred as the crazed silent movie star Norma Desmond in the Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of the classic film Sunset Boulevard.
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.
Carroll will be featured in UniGlobe Entertainment’s breast cancer docudrama entitled, 1 a Minute, scheduled for release in 2010.
Personal lifeCarroll has had four marriages, the first of which, with the record producer Monte Kay, 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. She and British television host and producer David Frost had been dating at the time, and were actually engaged. Several weeks later, she filed for divorce, charging Glusman with physical abuse. In 1975, she married Robert DeLeon, a managing editor of Jet magazine. She was widowed two years later when DeLeon was killed in a car crash. Carroll’s fourth and last marriage was to singer Vic Damone in 1987. The union, which Carroll admitted was turbulent, saw a legal separation in 1991, a reconciliation, and finally divorce in 1996.
As a breast cancer activist and survivor, she invited a camera crew into her treatment room for a national broadcast special to draw attention to the disease.