Diahann Carroll-Celebrity history.
Actress/ Singer Diahann Carroll best known for her TV roles as nurse Julia during the 1960’s and as Dominique Deveraux on Dynasty in the 1980’s.
One of television’s premier African-American series stars, elegant actress, singer and recording artist Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. The first child of John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel Faulk Johnson, music was an important part of her life as a child, singing at age 6 with her Harlem church choir. While taking voice and piano lessons, she contemplated an operatic career after becoming the 10-year-old recipient of a Metropolitan Opera scholarship for studies at New York’s High School of Music and Art. As a teenager she sought modeling work but it was her voice, in addition to her beauty, that provided the magic and the allure.
When she was 16, she teamed up with a girlfriend from school and auditioned for Arthur Godfrey‘s Talent Scouts show using the more exotic sounding name of Diahann Carroll. She alone was invited to appear and won the contest. She subsequently performed on the daily radio show for three weeks. In her late teens, she began focusing on a nightclub career and it was here that she began formulating a chic, glamorous image. Another TV talent show appearance earned her a week’s engagement at the Latin Quarter.
Broadway roles for black singers were rare but at age 19, Diahann was cast in the Harold Arlen/Truman Capote musical “House of Flowers”. Starring the indomitable Pearl Bailey, Diahann held her own quite nicely in the ingénue role.
In 1954 she and Ms. Bailey supported a riveting Dorothy Dandridge as femme fatale Carmen Jones (1954) in an all-black, updated movie version of the Georges Bizet opera “Carmen.” Diahann later supported Ms. Dandridge again in Otto Preminger’s cinematic retelling of Porgy and Bess (1959). During this time she also grew into a singing personality on TV while visiting such late-nite hosts as Jack Paar and Steve Allen and performing.
She was rewarded with a Tony Award for her exceptional performance as a fashion model in the 1962 musical “No Strings,” a bold, interracial love story that co-starred Richard Kiley. Richard Rodgers, whose first musical this was after the death of partner Oscar Hammerstein, wrote the part specifically for Diahann. In the late 1960s she would break a major ethnic barrier on the small screen. Though it was nearly impossible to suppress the natural glamour and sophistication of Diahann, she touchingly portrayed an ordinary nurse and widow struggling to raise a small son in the series Julia (1968). Diahann won a Golden Globe award for “Best Newcomer” and an Emmy nomination. The show lasted only two seasons, at her request.
A renewed interest in film led Diahann to the dressed-down title role of Claudine (1974), as a Harlem woman raising six children on her own. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1975, but her acting career would become more and more erratic after this period. She did return, however, to the stage with productions of “Same Time, Next Year” and “Agnes of God”. Diahann next step was the ultra-vixen character on the glitzy primetime soap Dynasty.
Some of her finest work came with TV-movies, notably her century-old Sadie Delany in Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years (1999) and as troubled singer Natalie Cole‘s mother in Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (2000).
1967. Actress/singer Diahann Carroll rents the former Monty Clift home, and is involved in the community. She brings her daughter Suzzane, and the press, and becomes our most photographed celebrity here.