THE WORD | Icon Diahann Carroll Passes Away

The oscar-nominated and film pioneer Diahann Carroll has lost her battle to cancer at the age of 84. Her daughter, Susan Kay, confirmed her passing on October 04, 2019. As the world and entertainment industry mourns her passing, we acknowledge her accolades.

Diahann Carroll was a pioneer who left her mark on everything she touched. In 1968 she made television history by becoming the first African American woman to have her own tv show that didn’t portray a servant role. The tv series Julia, ran for 86 episodes before it came to an end in 1971. Her portrayal of Julia Baker was a significant role because it broke away from the standard of African American’s only being portrayed on screen as servants and help. That role not only uplifted the black community and culture, it acknowledged Diahann Carroll as a force to be wreckened with, especially after it secured her Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star in 1969.

Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker

Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker

After Julia, her television history didn’t stop there. Carroll later, made history again as the first African American woman to star in a prime-time soap opera drama. Dynasty aired 74 episodes from 1984–1987 and her work as Dominique Deveraux paved the way for this generation to have an Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating. Diahann Carroll was unquestionably a major pioneer and icon in the television industry. Aside from making history as the first African American woman to star in a soap opera drama and have her own tv series in a non-servant role she starred in timeless films like Claudine which won an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1975.

With over a dozen award nominations, Carroll has been busy over the years. She’s tirelessly worked as a triple threat in television, film, and theater. Carroll has guess starred in countless shows and films like A Different World as Whitley’s mother, Eleanor Potter in The Five Heartbeats, and Aunt Ruthie in Soul Food. Her consistent work over the years secured her spot in the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011.

Diahann Carroll’s on screen presence was one of grace and class. Her life has impacted many. We join celebrities and industry professionals as they remember her life and legacy.