Diahann Carroll, 1935-2019
October 5, 2019 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Diahann Carroll, the groundbreaking and award-winning African American actor, has died at 84. From 1968 to 1971, Carroll starred in the TV series Julia as single mother and nurse Julia Baker, whose husband had been killed in the Vietnam War. This was the first major non-servant role for a black woman on American TV and had a profound influence as other black single mothers and their children saw their family structure represented in a positive way. (Carroll’s performance won a Golden Globe in 1969.) She also made history as the first African American woman to win a Tony Award: in 1962, she won for her lead role in No Strings, a musical written specifically for her by composer Richard Rogers. Carroll was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1975 for the lead role in the movie Claudine. Some tributes and reactions to Carroll’s death from colleagues and those who looked up to her.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (39 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had a crush on her when I was a kid, I loved her TV show.
She will be missed.

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posted by evilDoug at 12:32 PM on October 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


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posted by LobsterMitten at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by otherchaz at 12:44 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by Splunge at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by Halloween Jack at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:34 PM on October 5, 2019


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spent a lot of my kid-hood watching Julia, usually with my mom. No regrets.
posted by philip-random at 1:35 PM on October 5, 2019


I got hooked on Dynasty as a kid and I'm pretty sure that was all Diahann Carroll. When I gave it a shot on streaming last year, it, um... well, Diahann Carroll's performance still stands up marvelously over time. I'm sad to see her go.

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posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:05 PM on October 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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posted by mordax at 2:15 PM on October 5, 2019


Julia was a very bland series. God, she made it good.

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posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by tzikeh at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by tommasz at 2:33 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 2:50 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by hippybear at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2019


When I think about it, it’s pretty amazing that Julia was a regular watch in our house when I was a kid.

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posted by Thorzdad at 3:05 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:06 PM on October 5, 2019


I first encountered her on Dynasty as a kid, and I was all, wow! She easily out-grande-damed all the other grande dames, and grande-daming was a high art at the time.

One of the nostalgia channels has been running Julia for the last few months, and that has been a revelation. I feel doubly sad that the world is losing her just as I was a personally rediscovering her, but I guess sadness is sometimes selfish like that.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:23 PM on October 5, 2019


Oh, and Claudine is one of those movies that I will always stop and watch whenever I find it on during late-night channel-flipping.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:27 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by valkane at 3:27 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by praemunire at 3:30 PM on October 5, 2019


We watched Julia at my house, and my parents bought me (a Caucasian cis female)a Julia Barbie Doll when I was about five. This was in the late 1960s. This was the only doll I can ever remember seeing that didn’t look like me or my friends, and I always thought about that doll (and the thought that I’m sure went into buying it for me) whenever I saw Diahann Carroll on tv.
posted by bookmammal at 3:47 PM on October 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


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posted by mustard seeds at 4:54 PM on October 5, 2019


I'm just at the age that I didn't really know her work other than from (probably) The Love Boat. But once you saw her, you never forgot her. I'm sorry my only memories of her are the impact she had on me rather than any sense of her talents. But she was just so, so lovely.

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posted by Mchelly at 5:18 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by moons in june at 5:35 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by shmurley at 5:48 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by skye.dancer at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by Freeze Peach at 6:34 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by mstokes650 at 7:23 PM on October 5, 2019


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:48 PM on October 5, 2019


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thank you for the obit, hurdy gurdy girl
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:06 AM on October 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think it's obvious that Quentin Tarantino had a huge crush on her. In "The Bonnie Situation" sequence, where Jules and Vincent are trying to dispose of Marvin's body at Jimmy's house, there's a flashforward of Jimmy imagining getting busted his wife, who just so happens to be an African-American woman in a blindingly white, old school nurse's uniform. Tarantino also collects board games, and he once mentioned that he owned a copy of the Julia board game.

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posted by jonp72 at 2:24 PM on October 6, 2019


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posted by Faintdreams at 4:08 PM on October 6, 2019


I loved watching Julia when I was young.
RIP.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:34 PM on October 6, 2019


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Also distinguished by role in the wonderful Paris Blues, 1961 w Poitier, Newman & Woodward. And it's on YT..
https://youtu.be/gWQ5Oa33U9s
posted by peacay at 11:20 PM on October 6, 2019


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posted by camyram at 1:32 AM on October 7, 2019


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posted by filtergik at 7:00 AM on October 8, 2019


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posted by photoelectric at 7:54 PM on October 12, 2019


The lady on the cover of this book is one who has lived and still has some lines of experience on her face-- at least before the retoucher got to it. The lady on the cover may or may not be the perfect mother or grandmother, and heaven knows she has never been very good at selecting men. But you know what she most definitely is? She's happy. I hope you like her. I do. Some people come of age as teenagers. I came of age as a senior citizen.
---Diahann Carroll, The Legs Are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying & Other Things I Learned the Hard Way (p. 267)

The book is more thematic and episodic than it is chronological. There's a chapter about Grey's Anatomy, a chapter about her mother, a separate one about her father, still another about her childhood and upbringing, multiple chapters about her marriages and other romantic relationships (with quite a bit to say about Sidney Poitier). There's a chapter about plastic surgery, one about breast cancer (October is over but still, fuck breast cancer), and one about her relationship with her daughter and grandchildren. The whole autobiography is shot through with the casual racism and sexism that suffused her life (she repeatedly had to slap and/or fight off various handsy celebrities and hangers-on). She is at times vain and inconsiderate, by her own admission, but the book is a decently solid accounting of her own her life and outlook, and so it's definitely worth the read.


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posted by tyro urge at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


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