I used to want to be Diahann Carroll. She’s much older than me, but she was so dignified and refined. Not to mention beautiful. I would have this recurring dream that she was my neighbor and on Sundays we’d get together and play Gin.
Carroll’s daughter, Susan Kay, confirmed her mother died on Friday in Los Angeles of cancer.
During her long career, Carroll earned a Tony Award for the musical ‘No Strings’ and an Academy Award nomination for ‘Claudine.’
But she was perhaps best known for her pioneering work on ‘Julia.’ Carroll played Julia Baker, a nurse whose husband had been killed in Vietnam, in the groundbreaking situation comedy that aired from 1968 to 1971.
Although she was not the first black woman to star in her own TV show (Ethel Waters played a maid in the 1950s series ‘Beulah’), she was the first to star as someone other than a servant.
In the 1980s, she appeared in the long-running prime-time soap opera ‘Dynasty’ for three years. More recently, she had a number of guest shots and small roles in TV series, including playing the mother of Isaiah Washington’s character, Dr. Preston Burke, on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’