Diahann Carroll, First African-American Woman to Star in Her Own TV Show, Is Dead at 84

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Tony-winning and Oscar-nominated actress Diahann Carroll has died at the age of 84. Her daughter, Suzanne Kay, confirmed the news to Variety on Friday. The actress made her name as the first-ever African-American woman to star in her own television show, 1968’s Julia. The show helped pave the way for more African-American talent onscreen. In 1962, Carroll became the first black woman to win a Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in Richard Rodgers’s musical No Strings, written specifically for her. She earned her only Oscar nomination for the 1974 romance Claudine, opposite James Earl Jones. Carroll was the fourth black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. In the early ’80s, she defined diva as the dramatic and elegant Dominique Deveraux on Dynasty, the first black bitch on television,” as Carroll once put it, paving the way for the Olivia Popes and Annalise Keatings of the world. “Yes, I’m ambitious,” Carroll wrote in her 2008 autobiography, The Legs Are the Last to Go, “a rampant careerist who is as dedicated and vain as any performer in the business. I don’t know if that will ever change.”

Tony Award Winner Diahann Carroll Dead at 84