Friday, February 27, 2015

Famous Black Firsts: Diahann Caroll

Diahann Caroll was born on July 17th 1935 as Carol Diahann Johnson in the Bronx, New York. As a child her parents enrolled her in dance, modeling, and singing classes. When she was 15 years old she was already 6 feet tall and modeling for Ebony magazine. After high school she went to NYU and majored in sociology. At 18 she appeared on a program called Chance of a Lifetime. She won $1,000 for her performance of “Why Was I Born?” and won for the next four weeks. She soon began performing at nightclubs. 

She debuted in film in the movie Carmen Jones as a supporting role in 1954. In 1958 she made it to Broadway in the musical House of Flowers. She performed in more series and plays and won a Tony Award for best actress for the musical No Strings which was the first for a Black woman. In 1974 she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in the movie Claudine

She became known for her role in the 1968 series Julia. This show made her the first Black actress to star in her own television series where she was not portraying a domestic worker. For that she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1969.

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