Remembering Trailblazing Actress Diahann Carroll

When Julia began airing in 1968, it ushered in a much-needed TV revolution by showcasing an African-American actress in the leading role. Bringing this classic character to life was Diahann Carroll, the multi-talented performer who rose to fame through her work in Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess broke boundaries throughout her decade-spanning career. She was the first African-American to win a Best Actress Tony for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings, and was regularly honored for her work, culminating in an Academy Award nomination for 1974’s Claudine. Other iconic roles include appearances in material as diverse as Dynasty, A Different World, The Five Heartbeats, Grey’s Anatomy, and, most notoriously, The Star Wars Holiday Special. Regardless of whom she was playing, Carroll brought an air of class to every role she undertook. She died of cancer yesterday at the age of 84. Along with leaving behind family, friends, and fans across the world, Carroll also will be remembered for helping throw open the door to bring equality to television when it was needed the most.