(Cheatsheet.com) Actress and singer Diahann Carroll changed the face of American entertainment as we know if by breaking barriers for African-American celebrities. Carroll was the star of Julia, the first television series about a black professional woman that wasn’t portrayed in a stereotypical or offensive light. Known for her elegant singing voice and grace, Carroll also made it to Broadway, being the very first black woman to win a Tony Award for her role in the musical, No Strings.
After 69 years of charming and gracing the world with her many talents and tenacity, Carroll passed away on Oct. 4, 2019, from complications from breast cancer, a disease she battled for 22 years. Keep reading to learn more about Diahann Carroll and the legacy she left behind.
Carol Diahann Johnson was born in the Bronx, New York City on July 17, 1935. Her father John Johnson was a subway conductor, while her mother, Mabel Faulk was a nurse. Both of her parents supported her dreams of entering the entertainment industry, enrolling her in the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she attended school with actor, Billy Dee Williams.
Her parents also enrolled her in dancing, singing, and modeling lessons and she started modeling for Ebony at the age of 15. She began to enter television contests under the name Diahann Carroll. After graduating from high school, Carroll began to attend New York University but dropped out before graduating to pursue her career in entertainment.
Diahann Carroll’s career
Carroll’s entertainment career launched when she was 18 years old, having won $1,000 for her cover of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song, “Why Was I Born?” She continued to win shows and perform at nightclubs.
Her first film debut was a supporting part in the film Carmen Jones, where Carroll played a friend of the main character. She also went on to play Clara in Porgy & Bess. In 1961, she starred alongside Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward in Paris Blues.
In 1968, Diahann Carroll became a household name for her role as Julia in the television series Julia. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress In A Television Series” and an Emmy nomination.
Carroll went on to appear in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, for which she received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series” and White Collar.
Over the course of her lifetime, Carroll received five Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, one Academy Award nomination, and more.
Diahann Carroll was married four times.
In 1956, she married record producer Monte Kay, but the ceremony was protested by Carroll’s father. Six years later, their marriage ended. However, the two had a daughter who went on to become a freelance journalist.
Carroll was engaged to British television personality David Frost from 1970 to 1973 when Carroll shocked fans by marrying Fred Glusman, a boutique owner from Las Vegas. Weeks later, the pair divorced and Carroll accused Glusman of physical abuse,
Two years later, Carroll married Robert DeLeon, the managing editor of Je, who tragically passed away in a car accident.
Twelve years later, Carroll remarried singer Vic Damone in 1987, but the couple legally separated in 1991, briefly reconciled, and finally divorced in 1996.
Legacy and net worth
Diahann Carroll will forever be remembered among entertainers like Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, actors that broke barriers for African-American entertainers. Carroll also founded the Celebrity Action Council, a group of female celebrities who work to serve the female outreach of the Los Angeles mission, who assist women who have fallen into troubled lives of drug abuse and prostitution.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Carroll became an activist and frequently emphasized the importance of early detection for the prevention of the spread of the disease. In 2011, Diahann Carroll was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Diahann Carroll had a net worth of $20 million at the time of her death.