Carroll, Diahann 1935–
Carroll, Diahann 1935–
Original name, Carol Diahann Johnson; born July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York, NY; daughter of John (a subway conductor) and Mabel (a nurse; maiden name, Faulk) Johnson; married Monte Kay (a producer, recording executive, and nightclub entrepreneur; divorced); married Freddie Glusman (a Las Vegas clothier), 1973 (divorced 1973); married Robert De Leon (a magazine managing editor), 1975 (died 1977); married Vic Damone (a singer), January, 1987 (divorced 1996); children: (first marriage) Suzanne Ottilie Kay (a journalist). Education: Attended New York University; studied at the Metropolitan Opera; studied drama with Lee Strasberg.
Addresses: Agent—William Morris Agency, One William Morris Place, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Agency for the Performing Arts, 9200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 900, Los Angeles, CA 90069; Cunningham/Escott/Slevin and Doherty Talent Agency, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 140, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
Career: Actress. Singer at several venues and on concert tours. Worked as a model and appeared in advertisements. Involved with the Diahann Carroll Fashion Line, and items such as wigs, clothing, and accessories. Appeared at various events and awards ceremonies, including serving as the mistress of ceremonies at the Thurgood Marshall Awards Dinner, 2003 and 2004, and appearing as a performer in 2005; keynote speaker at Regards to Broadway, the Breakers, Palm Beach, FL, 2006; also appeared in a performance of "Common Threads," a song in support of female candidates for the U.S. Senate.
Member: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Actors' Equity Association.
Awards, Honors: Antoinette Perry Award, best actress in a musical, 1962, for No Strings; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding single performance by an actress in a leading role, 1963, for "A Horse Has a Big Head, Let Him Worry," an episode of Naked City; Golden Globe Award, best female television star, and Emmy Award nomination, outstanding continued performance by an actress in a leading role in a comedy series, both 1969, Golden Globe Award nomination, best television actress—musical/comedy, 1970, and Groundbreaking Award, TV Land awards, 2003, all for Julia; Academy Award nomination, best actress in a leading role, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actress—musical/comedy, both 1975, both for Claudine; Image Award, best actress, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1976; inducted into the Black Filmmaker's Hall of Fame, 1976; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actress in a comedy series, 1989, for "For She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage," an episode of A Different World; Crystal Award, Women in Film, 1992; Black Women of Achievement Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Defense and Education Fund, 1992, for her work and charitable activities; Trumpet Award, 1995; received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1996; honored by Project Inform, 1996, for her work on HIV and AIDS; Lucy Award, Women in Film, 1998; Daytime Emmy Award nomination, outstanding performer in a children's special, 1998, for The Sweetest Gift; Image Award nomination, outstanding actress in a television movie, miniseries, or dramatic special, c. 1999, for Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years; Image Award nomination, outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, 2005, for Soul Food; History-Makers Award, 2005; named a legend at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball, 2006; named an honorary member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Television Appearances; Series:
Julia Baker (title role), Julia, NBC, 1968–71.
Host, The Diahann Carroll Show, CBS, 1976.
Dominique Deveraux (birth name, Millie Cox), Dynasty, ABC, 1984–87.
Dominique Deveraux, The Colbys (also known as Dynasty II: The Colbys), ABC, 1985–86.
Ida Grayson, Lonesome Dove: The Series, syndicated, 1994–95.
Justice Angela DeSett, The Court, ABC, 2002.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Zeona Haley, Roots: The Next Generation, ABC, 1979.
Maggie Corwin, From the Dead of Night, NBC, 1989.
Betty Hemmings, Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal, CBS, 2000.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Betty May, Death Scream (also known as Streetkill and The Woman Who Cried Murder), ABC, 1975.
Vivian, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, CBS, 1979.
Carolyne Lovejoy, Sister, Sister, NBC, 1982.
Margo Stover, Murder in Black and White, CBS, 1990.
Lydia Bishop, A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle (also known as The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle), NBC, 1994.
Mrs. Wilson, The Sweetest Gift, Showtime, 1998.
Herself, Jackie's Back! (also known as Jackie's Back: Portrait of a Diva), Lifetime, 1999.
Sarah L. "Sadie" Delany, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (also known as Having Our Say), CBS, 1999.
Maria Cole, Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (also known as The Natalie Cole Story), NBC, 2000.
Pouponne, The Courage to Love, Lifetime, 2000.
Herself, An Evening with Diahann Carroll, PBS, 2005.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Music U.S.A., CBS, 1958.
The Man in the Moon, NBC, 1960.
Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing, CBS, 1968.
The Bob Goulet Show Starring Robert Goulet, ABC, 1970.
Host, The Diahann Carroll Show, 1971.
The Anthony Newley Show, ABC, 1971.
Hotel 90, CBS, 1973.
Jack Lemmon—Get Happy (also known as Get Happy), 1973.
The Flip Wilson Special, NBC, 1974.
America Salutes Richard Rodgers: The Sound of His Music, 1976.
Telly … Who Loves Ya, Baby?, CBS, 1976.
The Beatles Forever, NBC, 1977.
"Holographic Wow," The Star Wars Holiday Special, 1978.
Rockette: A Holiday Tribute to Radio City Music Hall, 1978.
Bob Hope's All-Star Birthday (also known as Bob Hope's All-Star Birthday Party), NBC, 1979.
Bob Hope—Hope, Women and Song, NBC, 1980.
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's Women I Love—Beautiful but Funny, NBC, 1982.
Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1982.
George Burns' How to Live to Be 100, NBC, 1984.
Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, 1984.
The Love Boat Fall Preview, ABC, 1984.
The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1985.
Bob Hope's Comedy Salute to the Soaps, NBC, 1985.
Joan Rivers and Friends Salute Heidi Abromowitz, 1985.
Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars II), ABC, 1985.
Herself, "Walt Disney World's 15th Anniversary Celebration," The Disney Sunday Movie (also known as Disneyland, Disney's Wonderful World, The Magical World of Disney, Walt Disney, Walt Disney Presents, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and The Wonderful World of Disney), ABC, 1986.
Bob Hope's All-Star Super Bowl Party, NBC, 1986.
George Burns' 90th Birthday Special, CBS, 1986.
Song performer, Broadway Sings: The Music of Jule Styne, PBS, 1987.
America's Tribute to Bob Hope, NBC, 1988.
Song performer, Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1989.
Song performer, Sammy Davis, Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration, ABC, 1990.
Night of 100 Stars III (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars III), NBC, 1990.
Sinatra 75: The Best Is Yet to Come, CBS, 1990.
(In archive footage) Herself, Funny Women of Television, 1991.
Host, Celebrate the Soul of American Music, syndicated, 1991.
A Capitol Fourth, PBS, 1991.
Gladys Knight's Holiday Family Reunion Concert, syndicated, 1991.
Sunday in Paris, NBC, 1991.
Narrator, Jirimpimbira: An African Folk Tale (also known as Weekend Special: Jirimpimbira—An African Folk Tale), ABC, 1995.
The All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1995.
50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Golden Anniversary, HBO, 1997.
Herself, Motown 40: The Music Is Forever, ABC, 1998.
An All-Star Party for Aaron Spelling, ABC, 1998.
"Porgy and Bess: An American Voice," Great Performances, PBS, 1998.
Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood, 1998.
Stars over Mississippi, with Prince Edward, PBS, 1999.
Voice of Crow, Aesop's Fables: A Whodunit Musical: An Animated Special from the "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child' Series (animated musical), HBO, 2000.
NBC 75th Anniversary Special (also known as NBC 75th Anniversary Celebration), NBC, 2002.
Herself, TV's Most Memorable Weddings, NBC, 2003.
(In archive footage from Dynasty) Dominique Deveraux, 50 Most Wicked Women of Primetime, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.
Herself, Legends Ball, ABC, 2006.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Presenter, The 39th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1967.
Presenter, The 40th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1968.
Presenter, The 22nd Annual Tony Awards, NBC, 1968.
Cohost, The 23rd Annual Tony Awards, NBC, 1969.
Presenter, The 41st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1969.
The 45th Annual Academy Awards, NBC, 1973.
Presenter, The 47th Annual Academy Awards, NBC, 1975.
The Television Critics Circle Awards, CBS, 1977.
Presenter, The 35th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1981.
The 37th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1985.
44th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 1987.
Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1987.
The 39th Annual Emmy Awards, 1987.
The 11th Annual Black Achievement Awards, ABC, 1990.
The 19th Annual Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, syndicated, 1992.
Presenter, 50th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 1993.
The 47th Annual Tony Awards, 1993.
25th NAACP Image Awards, NBC, 1993.
The Third Annual Trumpet Awards Ceremony, 1995.
The 50th Annual Tony Awards, 1996.
Presenter, 29th NAACP Image Awards, 1998.
Host, The Ninth Annual Trumpet Awards, 2001.
34th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2003.
TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV (also known as First Annual TV Land Awards), TV Land, 2003.
Presenter, 36th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2005.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Chance of a Lifetime, ABC and The DuMont Network, 1953.
Herself, "Crescendo," The DuPont Show of the Month, CBS, 1957.
Herself, The Jack Paar Tonight Show (also known as Tonight), NBC, 1957, multiple episodes in 1958, 1961.
Dina Wright, "Sing a Song of Murder," Peter Gunn, NBC, 1960.
Ruby Jay, "A Horse Has a Big Head, Let Him Worry," Naked City, ABC, 1962.
Mystery guest, What's My Line?, CBS, 1962.
Herself, The Ed Sullivan Show (also known as Toast of the Town), CBS, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968.
Herself, "Diahann Carroll vs. E. G. Marshall," Password (also known as Password All-Stars), CBS, 1963.
Stella Young, "And Man Created Vanity," The Eleventh Hour, NBC, 1963.
Herself, The Merv Griffin Show, NBC, 1963, syndicated, 1968.
Herself, The Bell Telephone Hour, NBC, 1964.
Herself, The Judy Garland Show, CBS, 1964.
Guest host, On Parade, NBC, 1964.
The Danny Kaye Show, CBS, 1964, 1965, 1967.
Herself, The Hollywood Palace, ABC, multiple episodes in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, and 1969.
International Cabaret, 1965.
Herself, The Dean Martin Show (also known as The Dean Martin Comedy Hour), NBC, 1965, 1966.
Herself, "Gershwin, a Portrait," The Bell Telephone Hour, NBC, 1966.
Performer, The Milton Berle Show, ABC, 1966.
Herself, "C'est la vie," ABC Stage '67, ABC, 1967.
Musical guest, The Jackie Gleason Show (also known as The Honeymooners), CBS, 1968.
Performer, This Is Tom Jones, 1969, 1970.
The Flip Wilson Show, NBC, multiple episodes in 1971.
Herself, The Julie Andrews Hour, ABC, 1972.
Herself, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (also known as The Best of Carson), NBC, 1975, 1976.
Roxy Blue, "Help, Murder/Issac the Groupie/Mr. Popularity," The Love Boat, ABC, 1977.
The Rene Simard Show, CBC, 1977.
Herself, "Strike Up the Band," Webster, ABC, 1985.
"Mary McLeod Bethune," An American Portrait, CBS, 1985.
Marion Gilbert, "For She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage," A Different World, NBC, 1989.
Marion Gilbert, "For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls," A Different World, NBC, 1989.
Marion Gilbert, "Do You Take This Woman?," A Different World, NBC, 1991.
Marion Gilbert, "Faith, Hope, and Charity: Parts 1 & 2," A Different World, NBC, 1992.
Marion Gilbert, "Save the Best for Last," A Different World, NBC, 1992.
Marion Gilbert, "When One Door Closes …," A Different World, NBC, 1993.
Mrs. Winters, "My Daughter's Keeper," The Sinbad Show, Fox, 1993.
Ginger, "The Perfect Woman," Evening Shade, CBS, 1994.
"Who Killed the Beauty Queen?," Burke's Law, CBS, 1994.
Grace Willis, "The Driver," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1995.
Herself, "Ellen: A Hollywood Tribute," Ellen (also known as These Friends of Mine), ABC, 1998.
Herself, Intimate Portrait: Diahann Carroll, Lifetime, 1998.
Herself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1998.
Herself, "Dorothy Dandridge: Little Girl Lost," Biography (also known as A & E Biography: Dorothy Dandridge), Arts and Entertainment, 1999.
Jael, "Double Exposure," Twice in a Lifetime, PAX TV, 1999.
Jael, "O'er the Ramparts We Watched," Twice in a Lifetime, PAX TV, 1999.
Herself, "Diahann Carroll," E! Celebrity Profile (also known as Celebrity Profile), E! Entertainment Television, c. 1999.
Narrator, Intimate Portrait: Holly Robinson Peete, Lifetime, 2000.
Herself, "Dynasty," The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.
Herself, "Sammy Davis, Jr.," The E! True Hollywood Story E! Entertainment Television, 2001.
Voice of Queen La, "Lost City of Opar," The Legend of Tarzan (also known as Disney's "The Legend of Tarzan"), UPN and syndicated, 2001.
Voice of Queen La, "Tarzan and the Leopard Men Rebellion," The Legend of Tarzan (also known as Disney's "The Legend of Tarzan"), UPN and syndicated, 2001.
Voice of Queen La, "Tarzan and the Return of La," The Legend of Tarzan (also known as Disney's "The Legend of Tarzan"), UPN and syndicated, 2001.
Herself, "African Americans in Television," Inside TV Land (also known as Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television), TV Land, 2002.
Herself, "Taboo TV," Inside TV Land (also known as Inside TV Land: Taboo TV), TV Land, 2002.
Grandma Ruth Thorne, "The Big Thanks for Forgiving Episode," Half & Half, UPN, 2002.
Aunt Ruthie, "Truth's Consequences," Soul Food, Showtime, 2003.
Herself, "Style and Fashion," Inside TV Land (also known as Inside TV Land: Style and Fashion), TV Land, 2003.
Mrs. Morton, "Love and Let Die," Strong Medicine, Lifetime, 2003.
Viveca Rae, "Mother's Little Helper," Whoopi, NBC, 2003.
Aunt Ruthie, "In the Garden," Soul Food, Showtime, 2004.
Herself, Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, 2004.
Herself, "Changing Times and Trends," TV Land Confidential, TV Land, 2005.
Herself, "Tickled Pink," Inside TV Land (also known as Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink), TV Land, 2005.
Herself, "When Real Life and Screen Life Collide," TV Land Confidential, TV Land, 2005.
Herself, Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2005.
Panelist, "Greats, Dates, and Debates," That's What I'm Talking About, TV Land, 2006.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
20th Century Follies, ABC, 1972.
Myrt, Carmen Jones (musical), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1955.
Clara, Porgy and Bess (opera), Columbia, 1959.
Connie Lampson, Paris Blues, United Artists, 1961.
Nightclub singer, Goodbye Again (also known as Time on Her Hands and Aimez-vous Brahms?), United Artists, 1961.
Vivian Thurlow, Hurry Sundown, Paramount, 1967.
Ellie, The Split, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.
Title role, Claudine, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1974.
Herself, Color Adjustment (documentary; also known as Color Adjustment: Blacks in Prime Time), California Newsreel, 1991.
Eleanor Potter, The Five Heartbeats, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1991.
Elzora, Eve's Bayou, Trimark Pictures, 1997.
Some sources cite an appearance in Takin' Chances, c. 2000.
Ottilie (Violet), House of Flowers (musical), Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1954–55.
Barbara Woodruff, No Strings (musical), 54th Street Theatre, New York City, 1962, then Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1962–63.
Same Time, Next Year, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, c. 1977.
Dr. Martha Livingston, Agnes of God, Music Box Theatre, New York City, 1982–83.
Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars II), Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1985.
Melissa Gardner, Love Letters, Los Angeles, 1990.
Night of 100 Stars III (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars III), Radio City Music Hall, 1990.
Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard (musical), Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, North York, Ontario, Canada, 1995–96, also produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1996–97.
Tillie Clark, Blue, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA, 2002.
Ethel Thayer, On Golden Pond, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Eisenhower Theater, Washington, DC, 2004.
Bubbling Brown Sugar (revue), National Black Arts Festival, Theater of the Stars, Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA, 2004.
Appeared in other productions, including The Vagina Monologues, Westside Theatre, New York City. Appeared in various engagements, including performances at the Persian Room, the Plaza Hotel, New York City, 1960; and at Feinstein's at the Regency, New York City, c. 2006.
Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard (musical), c. 1996.
Almost Like Being in Love—The Lerner and Loewe Songbook (concerts), U.S. and Canadian cities, c. 1998–99.
The Life and Times of Diahann Carroll, 2006.
Appeared in touring performances with Lou Walters's Jazz Revue, 1950s.
Diahann Carroll Sings Harold Arlen Songs with Ralph Burns and His Orchestra, RCA Victor, 1957.
Best Beat Forward, 1958, reissued as Showstopper, 1962.
The Persian Room Presents Diahann Carroll, United Artists Records, c. 1959.
Diahann Carroll and Andre Previn, United Artists Records, c. 1960.
Fun Life, Atlantic, c. 1962.
"A" You're Adorable: Songs for Children, 1967.
Nobody Sees Me Cry, Columbia, c. 1967.
Diahann Carroll, Harmony, 1969, Motown, 1974.
The Time of My Life, Sterling, 1997.
Side by Side, 1999.
Nobody Sees Me Cry: The Best of the Columbia Years, 2001.
The Magic of Diahann Carroll (consists of the albums Diahann Carroll and Andre Previn and The Persian Room Presents Diahann Carroll), DRG/Koch Records, 2005.
Albums; with Others:
House of Flowers (cast recording), 1955.
(With the Andre Previn Trio) Porgy and Bess, United Artists Records, 1959.
Great Songs of Christmas, c. 1960.
Sleep Baby Sleep, c. 1960.
Diahann Carroll with the Andre Previn Trio, 1960.
Goodbye Again, United Artists Records, c. 1961.
The Comedy, 1962.
No Strings (cast recording), Capitol, c. 1962.
The Fabulous Diahann Carroll with Andre Previn and His Orchestra, United Artists Records, c. 1963.
Diahann Carroll with the Duke Ellington Orchestra: A Tribute to Ethel Waters, 1978.
Let It Snow, 1991.
All-Star Merry Christmas, 1992.
Jingle Bells, 1993.
Home for Christmas, 1994.
The Many Moods of Romance: The Glory of Love, 1994.
The Many Moods of Romance: Night and Day, 1994.
Christmas Encore!, 1995.
Golden Hits of the Silver Screen, 1996.
Sunset Boulevard (Canadian cast recording), Universal/PolyGram, 1996.
Christmas Memories, 1998.
The Magic of Diahann Carroll (consists of the albums Diahann Carroll and Andre Previn and The Persian Room Presents Diahann Carroll), DRG/Koch Records, 2005.
Stronger Than Before (charity CD), 2005.
"I Went to the Village," c. 1950.
"Rebel in Town," c. 1950.
"House of Flowers," 1955.
"The Big Country (Another Day, Another Sunset)," 1958.
"Guiding Light," 1958.
"Again," c. 1958.
"My Love, My Love," c. 1958.
"Don't Answer Me," 1967.
"The Need of You," 1967.
(In archive footage) TV in Black: The First Fifty Years, Koch Vision, 2004.
(With Ross Firestone) Diahann: An Autobiography, Little, Brown, 1986.
Contributor to periodicals, including Time. Some sources cite Carroll's inclusion in Chris Strodder's book Swinging Chicks of the '60s, Cedco Publishing Company, 2003.
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 9, Gale, 1995.
Ebony, March, 2006, pp. 26-27.
Jet, April 11, 2005, pp. 52-53; May 30, 2005, p. 54.
Theaterweek, January 1, 1996.
Time, July 23, 2001.
TV Guide, February 28, 1998, p. 7; September 28, 2002, p. 36.
"Carroll, Diahann 1935–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/carroll-diahann-1935-0
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Carroll, Diahann 1935–
Diahann Carroll 1935–
Diahann Carroll has spent more than 40 years in show business, making a name for herself as a glamorous nightclub singer and as an actress who has performed on Broadway, in movies, and on television. Throughout her career, which has ranged from classic musicals to night-time soap operas, Carroll has returned to her roots—cabaret singing—after acting stints or times of personal turmoil and distractions, of which many have come and gone. The once widowed, twice divorced entertainer admitted to the Los Angeles Times’ Leonard Feather that in her early relationships she was “too young, married to her work, and quite selfish about it.” In her autobiography, Diahann!, she confessed, “All I ever wanted to do was sing. What happened was more.”
The business Carroll entered in her teens altered dramatically over the next few decades, and Carroll’s involvement help speed along some of the change. During a United Press International (UPI) interview held in 1986, Carroll described the entertainment industry as she once found it. “In the beginning, I found myself dealing with a show business dictated by male white supremacists and chauvinists. As a black female, I had to learn how to tap dance around the situation. I had to … find a way to present my point of view without being pushy or aggressive.” For women in general, the atmosphere was not very inviting. Carroll informed the UPI that “in the old days, the only women I saw in this business were in makeup, hairdressing, and wardrobe departments. Now I’m surrounded by women executives, writers, directors, producers, and even women stagehands.”
Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann Johnson, the first child of John Johnson and Mabel Faulk Johnson. The two had met in New York City and married at 20 and 21, respectively. 13 months after their marriage, Carol was born. The family lived in an apartment on West 151st Street in Harlem. Carol first began singing at age six, as part of the Tiny Tots choir at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. She sang the solo parts in hymns such as “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” and “No Hiding Place Down There.” Even as a child, the young girl recognized that she loved singing, and she soon began taking lessons in downtown Manhattan, after an organization affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera offered her a scholarship. With her voice teachers, she learned a broader repertory of music, including German lieder and Italian art songs. She also took piano lessons.
By the time Carol was in junior high school, her family lived in
Born Carol Diann Johnson, July 17, 1935, in New York, NY; daughter of John (a subway conductor) and Mabel Faulk Johnson (a homemaker); married Monte Kay, 1956, (divorced); Freddie Glusman, 1973, (divorced); Robert DeLeon, 1975 (died, 1977); Vic Damone, 1987; daughter: Suzanne Kay. Education: New York High School of Music and Art; attended New York University.
Singer, actress, 1951—. Model, Johnson Publications, 1950; singer, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Show, radio show, 1951; Chance of a Lifetime television show, first prize winner, 1952; nightclub singer, The Latin Quarter, Cafe Society Downtown, New York, 1952–53, numerous other nightclub engagements. Film appearances include Carmen Jones, 1954; Porgy and Bess, 1959; Paris Blues, 1961; Claudine, 1975. Stage appearances include House of Flowers, 1955; No Strings, 1961–62; Same Time Next Year, 1979; Agnes of God, 1982. Television appearances include Julia, (series), 1968–70; Death Scream, (movie), 1975; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (movie), 1979; Sister, Sister, (movie), 1982; Dynasty, (series), 1984–87; From the Dead of Night, (miniseries), 1990; Lonesome Dove, (series), 1994—. Also made guest television appearances on The Tonight Show, The Danny Kaye Show, and The Carol Burnett Show, Burke’s Law, and Evening Shade. Released numerous record albums and cast recordings. Author, Diahann!, Little Brown and Company, 1986.
Selected awards: Tony award, 1962, for No Strings; Emmy award nomination, 1968, for Julia; Golden Globe award, “Best Newcomer on Television,” 1968, for Julia; Academy Award nomination, 1974, for Claudine; Emmy award nomination, “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series,” 1989, for A Different World.
Addresses: Agent —Triad Artists, 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., 16th Fl., Los Angeles, CA 90067.
a brownstone that they owned in Harlem. Her father worked as a subway conductor at the Department of Transportation of the City of New York, and her mother devoted all of her attention to caring for her beloved daughter. Carol received abundant and strict parental attention, and she did her homework and took piano lessons faithfully.
After completing junior high, Carol entered New York’s High School of Music and Art. There, she first began shaping to her musical ambitions. As a 14-year old, intensely interested in fashion and clothes, Carol also sent a picture of herself to the fashion editor of Ebony magazine on a whim. Six months later, she got a letter inviting her to the magazine’s offices for an interview, and won an assignment modeling with four other teenage girls in a petticoat layout for Johnson Publications, the magazine’s publisher. She made $10 an hour for the job. As a 15-year-old, Carol also got her first steady job, working in the hat department at Macy’s.
One year later, at age 16, Carol also made her first move into show business, teaming up with a classmate from school to try out for a television show called Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. When the show’s producers objected to the duo’s name, Carol adopted the stage name Diahann Carroll, thought up by her friend. After the audition, Carroll was invited to appear on the show, without her friend, and when she did, she won first prize. After that, she appeared on Godfrey’s daily radio show for three weeks.
After graduation from high school, Carroll enrolled at New York University, where she intended to study psychology. Despite her attempts to comply with her parents’ desire that she complete her education, singing and modeling proved a more compelling lure than schoolwork. First, she won three thousand dollars on Chance of a Lifetime, a television talent show that netted her a week’s engagement at a nightclub called the Latin Quarter. After that short gig, the owner of the nightclub, who also ran a talent management agency, offered her a contract.
Carroll devoted a large portion of her time to voice lessons, rehearsals, modeling, and singing jobs. At the end of her first term in college, she withdrew from her classes, intending to devote two years to exploring the possibility that she could make a career as a singer. Although she tried to win roles in Broadway musicals, parts for black singers in the early 1950s were sparse. Instead, she sang in mountain resorts in the Catskills, and she toured small towns on her own, singing in nightclubs.
At 18, Carroll returned to New York City, and began to sing at the Cafe Society Downtown in Greenwich Village. In an effort to shed her naive and innocent persona, she began to wear slinky gowns, to go along with the torch songs she was singing, and her glamorous wardrobe soon became a part of her stage persona. She also explored the possibility of acting, traveling to California to audition for a part in the movie Carmen Jones, an all-black version of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Although she didn’t get the lead, she was cast in a small sidekick role.
After completing the film, Carroll returned to New York City, where she won the ingenue role in the Broadway musical House of Flowers, a role for which she was nominated for a Tony award. While working on this show, Carroll dated the show’s casting director, Monte Kay, who became her first husband in September of 1956. Carroll continued working in nightclubs, but she also devoted a large part of her energy to her husband.
In 1959, Carroll accepted an offer to appear in her second movie, taking the role of Clara in Porgy and Bess. While filming this project, Carroll met and fell in love with the actor Sidney Poitier. Because both were married, however, they returned to their respective lives, and Carroll continued pursuing nightclubs for work. In September of 1960, Carroll had a child, Suzanne Patricia Ottilie Kay, with her husband, in an effort to save her marriage.
Early in 1961, Carroll flew to Paris to work on the film Paris Blues, another film with Sidney Poitier. The two continued their turbulent and unresolved relationship, until, finally, Carroll divorced her husband, and began seeing Poitier regularly, despite the fact that he had yet to divorce his wife. Meanwhile she had become a regular guest on the Tonight Show, hosted by Jack Paar. Carroll also starred in Broadway musical, No Strings, which was written for her by Richard Rodgers, a legend in American musical theater. Carroll’s performance as a fashion model in Paris earned her a second Tony nomination, after the show opened in New York City in March of 1962. She won, sharing the award with another nominated actress.
When the show’s New York run ended, Carroll went on tour with the rest of the cast. Her involvement with No Strings ended in California, when she abruptly became engaged to Sidney Poitier, only to break off the relationship several months later. Carroll then resumed her nightclub singing, moving to expand her repertoire beyond the Harold Arlen and Cole Porter standards she had previously perfected. Finally, nine years after they had first met, she was able to bring her alliance with Poitier to an end in 1968.
At that time, Carroll embarked on a new phase of her career. Although she had previously appeared on a number of television variety shows, including The Danny Kaye Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and specials with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, television had not been a major facet of her activities. In 1968, however, she became the star of her own television series. Julia depicted the life of a widowed nurse who was struggling to raise her child in Southern California. It became the first television show on the air to feature a black as a main character. The show was first aired in September, on Tuesday evenings, and by October of 1968, it had become the highest rated show on the air. That year, Carroll won a Golden Globe award for “Best Newcomer on Television” for Julia.
With this popularity came heightened exposure for Carroll, and pressure for her to respond to the racial tensions of the day, which had risen to a fever pitch in the wake of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Although she had no control over the contents of the script for her show, she felt that she was held accountable for its racial content. Nearly 20 years later, during an interview with a UPI’s Vernon Scott, Carroll recalled, “I learned quickly that almost any time a third world face became prominent on TV, we became responsible for the whole minority community.” Despite the tension involved in making the situation comedy, Carroll settled in Los Angeles, buying a large house on Benedict Canyon Road, and furnishing it lavishly.
After impersonating a wholesome nurse on television, Carroll discovered that her nightclub career had withered, as fans replaced their old image of her as a glamorous singer with their new impression. In an effort to regain an audience, she began making her shows more elaborate. In 1970, exhausted by the pressures of a weekly series, Carroll requested to be released from her contract for Julia.
Lacking other television or film opportunities, Carroll returned, as always, to singing. At this time, she had become romantically involved with David Frost, a British talk show host. In November of 1972, she and Frost became engaged, although their relationship was strife-ridden. In February of the following year, Carroll finally called off their wedding plans. A week later, she married another man, Freddie Glusman, whom she had seen intermittently while being involved with Frost. A few months later, the couple divorced. Later she identified the “episode as ’a silly marriage and a silly divorce,’” according to a Los Angeles Times article.
In the wake of this personal turmoil, Carroll turned to her professional life with renewed enthusiasm. She was offered the lead in a movie entitled Claudine. The project followed the life of a woman living in Harlem, who struggles to raise her six children. The film, in which Carroll was cast against type, received strong reviews, and the actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in 1975.
In the course of publicizing Claudine, Carroll met Robert DeLeon, the 24-year-old managing editor of Jet magazine. Less than three months later, the two married. A short time later Carroll decided to move to Oakland with her new husband, whom she described to the Los Angeles Times’ as “a complex, brilliant young man,” and retire from show business. After nine months, during which DeLeon began to drink heavily and run up debts, the two returned to Los Angeles. Carroll’s rocky relationship with her husband ended when he was killed in a 1977 automobile accident.
In an effort to get over the shock of her unexpected widowhood, Carroll returned to show business, taking a part in comedic play Same Time Next Year. She also began writing a memoir. In the fall of 1982, she revived her acting career with the role of the psychiatrist in the Broadway play Agnes of God, and then later toured with the production. This led to another, more lasting assignment, when she was given the part of Dominique Deveraux on the nighttime soap opera Dynasty.
In 1984, Carroll also began dating fellow singer Vic Damone. Two years later, she released her autobiography, entitled Diahann!. The work chronicled her career and her love life up until that point. Early in the next year, she wed for the fourth time, when she and Damone tied the knot in Atlantic City, while completing a joint singing engagement there. A happy Carroll declared in a Los Angeles Times’ interview, “We’re having a wonderful time, off stage and on. Come to think of it, this is probably the only time I should have gotten married.”
Carroll and her new husband continued to sing together throughout the late 1980s, and she also pursued other television projects, such as a joint talk show hosting assignment with her daughter, Suzanne Kay. By 1990, however, tales that Carroll’s latest marriage was on the rocks were starting to circulate. In September of that year she told People’s Pters Castro, “In the beginning, I used to think those rumors were monumentally important, and I used to call everyone to find out where they got their sources, but now we just ignore them.” Commenting on the difficulties of a Hollywood marriage, she also stated, “It’s fascinating to be together—and we’re going to pay the price for it. Our marriage has wonderful turbulence, just like most relationships.” But in April of 1991, the pair had filed for a formal separation.
At that time, Carroll also decided to cut back on her professional engagements. She limited her acting to occasional appearances on television and curtailed her nightclub dates. In April of 1992, Carroll reunited with her husband, and by November of that year, the two had made plans to perform together again. In January of 1994, she also announced that she was putting together a new act to be performed in Atlantic City, and she accepted guest spots on two television shows. In the fall of that year, she accepted her third regular television job, joining the cast of the Western series Lonesome Dove.
As she approached age 60, Carroll had once again defied the odds in her industry, continuing to work while other women, blacks, and actors over the age of 40 found it difficult to sustain their careers. Throughout her long career, her versatility, and her capacity to continue working as a singer, even in times of personal crisis, had served her well. As Marilyn Beck commented of Carroll in The Sun-Sentinel, “Where she’s been is to hell and back, to the heights and depths, since she broke into the business.” Carroll herself noted to the UPI’s Hollywood reporter, “I like to think I opened doors for other women, although that wasn’t my original intention.” Indeed, Carroll’s ability to survive and persevere has made her career an example for other singers and actors.
Diahann!, Little Brown and Company, 1986.
Jet, November 9,1992, p. 23; September 19,1994, p. 32.
Los Angeles Times, January 27, 1989, p. 11.
People, January 19, 1987, p. 32; September 10, 1990, p. 156.
Sun Sentinel, January 28, 1994, p. 5E.
UPI Wire Report, June 2, 1986.
USA Today April 2, 1991, p. 20; April 16, 1992, p. 20.
"Carroll, Diahann 1935–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/carroll-diahann-1935
"Carroll, Diahann 1935–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved February 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/carroll-diahann-1935