Carrol Diahann Johnson known as Diahann Carroll is the epitome of Legendary Hollywood actress.
She was first black woman to star in her own television series and win an emmy. What was most monumental is that she did not play the role of a domestic worker. Obviously, she paved the way for women like Kerry Washington to star in primetime series. With 6 decades of acting experience from TV’s Julia to Dynasty’s Dominique Deveraux, there is simply only one word for Diahann Carroll: Iconic.
Here are some interesting facts you may not know about the living legend.
1. She left college to pursue acting and singing full time.
She had intentions of graduating college to fulfill her parent’s wishes and enrolled at New York University to study sociology but dropped out after only one semester.
- She was engaged to Sidney Poitier.
They had an affair on their spouses in the late 50’s and got engaged in 1960. Both eventually went on to marry other people. Carroll has been engaged several times and married 4 times.
- She started her career as a model.
Surprise! Surprise! A photographer for Ebony’s Fashion Fair discovered her at the age of 15. Her lean 6-foot frame is what got her several jobs.
- Her role in the TV series Julia broke barriers.
In Julia, Carroll played a nurse widowed by war. This was the first primetime network show that starred a black woman not playing a domestic worker.
- She went to school with fellow actor Billy Dee Williams.
Carroll and famed actor Billy Dee Williams were high school classmates at The New York City High School of Music & Art, the school that in the 70s merged with the High School of Performing Arts, featured in Fame (1982), to become Laguardia High School. They went to star as husband and wife in the hit series Dynasty.
- Diahann turned down the role of Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues.
She was offered the role in the classic film ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ which was played by Diana Ross.
- She was the first African American to win a Tony award.
She won for her portrayal of Barbara Woodruff in 1962’s No Strings. One of the play’s producers got the idea for casting her after watching her appearance on the Tonight Show.
8. She’s making a return to acting-by way of Broadway.
Carroll recently has been casted to play Mama in ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ alongside Denzel Washington and Anika Noni Rose.