Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll Headshot

Actress

Birth Name: Carol Diahann Johnson

Birth Date: July 17, 1935

Death Date: October 4, 2019

Birth Place: Bronx, New York

Partners: Sidney Poitier, David Frost

Best known for her pioneering leading role in sitcom "Julia" (NBC, 1968-1971), actress and singer Diahann Carroll also picked up an Oscar nomination for "Claudine" (1974), played soap villain Dominique Devereaux in "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89) and was the first African-American to win Best Actress at the Tony Awards. Born in The Bronx, NY in 1935, Carroll studied at the New York High School of Music and Art, and thanks to a four-week winning stint on "Chance of a Lifetime" (ABC, 1952-53) was a regular performer on the New York nightclub circuit by her late teens. While studying sociology at NYU, Carroll made her Broadway debut in "House of Flowers" and landed her first screen acting role playing wholesome country singer Myrt in "Carmen Jones" (1954).

After appearing as Clara in the film adaptation of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" (1959), Carroll starred as Sidney Poitier's love interest Connie in "Paris Blues" (1961), showcased her vocal talents in romantic drama "Goodbye Again" (1961) and delivered an Emmy-nominated guest turn on "Naked City" (ABC, 1958-1963). Carroll made history in 1962 when she became the first ever African-American recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award thanks to her performance as a fashion model in interracial musical "No Strings." Following supporting roles in "Hurry Sundown" (1967) and "The Split" (1968) Carroll once again helped to break down barriers when she became the first black actress to front her own sitcom, "Julia" (NBC, 1968-1971).

After two seasons of playing the eponymous widowed nurse, Carroll returned to the big screen where she starred as a poverty-stricken single mother of six in "Claudine" (1974), receiving a Best Actress Oscar nomination in the process. The multi-talented star, who had also released over a dozen studio albums by this point, was then given her own four-part variety special in 1976, starred in the Maya Angelou-penned dramas "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1979) and "Sister, Sister" (1982), and bagged the role of Joan Collins' high shoulder-padded nemesis Dominique Devereaux in "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89) and spin-off "The Colbys" (ABC, 1985-87).

Carroll then shared top billing in TV movie "Murder in Black and White" (1990), enjoyed the recurring roles of Whitley's mother in "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993) and Ida Grayson in "Lonesome Dove: The Series" (Syndication, 1994-96), and added "The Five Heartbeats" (1991), "Eve's Bayou" (1997) and "The Sweetest Gift" (1998) to her filmography. After portraying a string of real-life figures including civil rights activist Sadie Delany in "Having Our Say" (1999), Thomas Jefferson slave Betty Hemings in "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal" (2000) and Natalie Cole's mother Maria in "Livin' for Love" (2000), Carroll bagged the recurring roles of Dr. Preston's demanding mother Jane Burke in "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005-) and Neal's widowed landlady June in "White Collar" (USA Network, 2009-2014).

Following supporting turns in Patricia Cornwell adaptations "At Risk" (2010) and "The Front" (2010), Carroll played Nana Peeples in the Tyler Perry-produced "Peeples" (2013) and church elder Ms. Edna in pastor-turned-vigilante drama "The Masked Saint" (2016). Diahann Carroll died on October 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA following a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 84.

Credits

The Best of The Ed Sullivan Show

Self
Show
2023

How It Feels to Be Free

Actor
Show
2021

Diahann Carroll: Elusive Butterfly

Music Performer
Show
2021

Diahann Carroll: At The Crossroads

Music Performer
Show
2020

Black Hollywood: They've Gotta Have Us

Guest
Show
2018

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be MeStream

Self
Movie
2017
100%

The Masked Saint

Actor
Ms. Edna
Movie
2016

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise

Self
Movie
2016

The Arsenio Hall Show

Guest
Show
2013

Jazz Divas Gold

Self
Show
2013

PeeplesStream

Actor
Nana Peeples
Movie
2013
38%

Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky

Actor
Movie
2012

Sing Your Song

Actor
Movie
2011

Kiss and Tell: The History of Black Romance in Movie

Actor
Movie
2011

Diahann Carroll: The Lady, the Music, the Legend

Music Performer
Show
2010

Patricia Cornwell's At Risk

Actor
Nana
Movie
2010

Patricia Cornwell's The Front

Actor
Nana
Movie
2010

White CollarStream

Guest Star
Series
2009
96%

The Bonnie Hunt Show

Guest
Talk
2008

The Doctors

Guest
Talk
2008

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

Back To YouStream

Guest Star
Series
2007
40%

The Better Show

Guest
Show
2007

An Evening With Diahann Carroll

Guest
Show
2005

Grey's AnatomyStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
84%

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

Whoopi

Guest Star
Series
2003
26%

Half & HalfStream

Guest Star
Series
2002

The Court

Actor
Show
2002

An Evening With Dionne Warwick

Host
Show
2002

Strong Medicine

Guest Star
Series
2000

Sally Hemings: An American ScandalStream

Actor
Betty Hemings
Miniseries
2000

The Courage to Love

Actor
Pouponne
Movie
2000

Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story

Actor
Maria Cole
Movie
2000

Natalie Cole

Actor
Movie
2000

L'Histoire de Natalie Cole

Actor
Movie
2000

Relatos de las Hermanas Delany

Actor
Sadie Delany
Movie
1999

Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years

Actor
Sadie Delany
Movie
1999

Jackie's Back!

Self
Movie
1999

The Sweetest Gift

Actor
Mrs. Wilson
Movie
1998

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

Eve's BayouStream

Actor
Elzora
Movie
1997
83%

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every ChildStream

Voice
Series
1995

Touched by an AngelStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

EllenStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

Burke's Law

Guest Star
Grace Gibson
Show
1994

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle

Actor
Lydia Bishop
Movie
1994

The Five HeartbeatsStream

Actor
Eleanor Potter
Movie
1991
39%

Murder in Black and White

Actor
Margo Stover
Movie
1990

Au delà de la nuit

Actor
Maggie
Movie
1989

A Different WorldStream

Guest Star
Series
1987

Sister, Sister

Actor
Carolyne Lovejoy
Movie
1982

The 35th Annual Tony Awards

Self
Show
1981

DynastyStream

Guest Star
Dominique Deveraux
Series
1981

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Actor
Vivian
Movie
1979

The Love BoatStream

Guest Star
Series
1977

Death Scream

Actor
Betty May
Movie
1975

The Flip Wilson Special

Guest
Show
1974

Claudine

Actor
Claudine
Movie
1974

Get Happy

Guest
Show
1973

Julia

Actor
Julia Baker
Series
1968

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1968

The SplitStream

Actor
Ellen "Ellie" Kennedy
Movie
1968

The Carol Burnett ShowStream

Guest
Variety Show
1967

Hurry Sundown

Actor
Vivian Thurlow
Movie
1967

The Sammy Davis Jr. Show

Self
Show
1966

The Strollin' 20's

Self
Movie
1966

On Parade

Actor
Host
Show
1964

The Judy Garland Show

Guest Star
Variety Show
1963

The Danny Kaye ShowStream

Guest
Variety Show
1963

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

Goodbye Again

Actor
Night Club Singer
Movie
1961

Paris Blues

Actor
Connie Lampson
Movie
1961

The Man in the Moon

Actor
Show
1960

Porgy and Bess

Actor
Clara
Movie
1959

The DuPont Show of the Month

Actor
Show
1957

Carmen JonesStream

Actor
Myrt
Movie
1954
78%

Today

Guest
News
1952

What's My Line?Stream

Guest
Game Show
1950

Studio OneStream

Self
Series
1948

The Ed Sullivan ShowStream

Guest
Variety Show
1948