Diahann Carroll, the Tony-winning, Oscar-nominated singer and actress who paved the way for black actors by becoming the first African American woman to star in her own TV series, “Julia,” died on Friday after a battle with cancer. She was 84.
Carroll is also known for her work on “Dynasty,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and her Oscar-nominated performance in the romantic drama “Claudine.” She capitalized on her theater chops with projects such as her Tony-nominated performance in “No Strings,” Broadway show “Agnes of God” and “Same Time, Next Year.”
After the news of her death, celebrities took to social media to share their condolences.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay paid tribute to the late icon.
“Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon. One of the all-time greats. She blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow. Extraordinary life. Thank you, Ms. Carroll,” DuVernay said.
Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon. One of the all-time greats. She blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow. Extraordinary life. Thank you, Ms. Carroll. pic.twitter.com/YXjh7d3LWU
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 4, 2019
Oprah Winfrey said, “Thanks for helping clear the path for me and so many others.”
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) October 4, 2019
“This one cuts deeply. My mom & Ms Diahann were friends since they were 14. She was a pioneer on so many levels. She made me believe I could be on television! I loved & cherished and idolized her like a daughter…. RIP Diahann Carroll thank you for the gift of your life,” said actress and singer Holly Robinson Peete.
This one cuts deeply. My mom & Ms Diahann were friends since they were 14. She was a pioneer on so many levels. She made me believe I could be on television! I loved & cherished and idolized her like a daughter…. 💔💔
RIP Diahann Carroll thank you for the gift of your life🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/StN2c5vGDN
— Holly Robinson Peete😷🥰 (@hollyrpeete) October 4, 2019
Actress and producer Dana Delany also shared her condolences via Twitter, calling Carroll “a goddess.”
I once met the legendary Diahann Carroll at a luncheon in Toronto. I told her that when she starred in Julia, people used to say my mother looked like her. Without blinking an eye, she said “Was she very beautiful?” Ms Carroll was a Goddess. pic.twitter.com/BJot9JIh1p
— Dana Delany (@DanaDelany) October 4, 2019
Debbie Allen, who co-starred with Carroll in the television short “Sunday in Paris,” said “you taught us so much.”
Diahann Carroll you taught us so much. We are stronger, more beautiful and risk takers because of you. We will forever sing your praises and speak your name. Love Love Love, Debbie💕 pic.twitter.com/1LBUUa2Ql3
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) October 4, 2019
— Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) October 4, 2019
Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. called her a “transformative force for freedom.”
#DiahannCarroll was a transformative force for freedom. She identified with Dr King in the civil rights movement with a simple kiss. She brought down ancient barriers & built bridges.She left the world better than she found it. We are in her debt. We miss her so much already. RIP pic.twitter.com/MwjRGcs6tq
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) October 4, 2019
Both the Television Academy and Tribeca Film Festival also sent their condolences, the latter calling Carroll a “courageous trailblazer who broke through the color barriers of the entertainment world and became nothing less than a star.”
The Television Academy remembers Hall of Fame inductee Diahann Carroll who sadly passed away at age 84. She was the first African-American actress to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1969. Our condolences to Diahann's loved ones.https://t.co/wlUghgBwPl pic.twitter.com/AuzXI2ppfi
— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) October 4, 2019
"If you're not invited to the party, throw your own." Rest in peace, Diahann Carroll, an awe-inspiring entertainer and courageous trailblazer who broke through the color barriers of the entertainment world and became nothing less than a star. pic.twitter.com/nkMAvmUP1K
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) October 4, 2019
Read more reactions below:
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My heart is broken after hearing about the legendary #diahanncarroll ‘s passing. I was honored to have her play my mother in the @lifetimetv movie #thecouragetolove Ms. Carroll paved the way for so many black actresses in so many different genres. Broadway (No Strings, House of Flowers, Sunset Boulevard) TV (Julia , Dynasty) Film (Claudine) plus many many more. She was a mentor, trailblazer and dynamic talent that single handed integrated the Union by demanding to have a black hairdresser do her hair on her groundbreaking show “julia”. My deepest s condolences go out to her family and all that adored her 💔
Thank you for being an important soul in my life. I love you, Ms. Carroll.
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) October 4, 2019
Working with Diahann Carroll was one of the great honors of my career. Funny, classy, stunning, warm. The first scene we shared, I opened an apartment door to find her. She winked at me. Pure mischief. I lost my words. She made this world a more glamorous place. @WhiteCollarUSA https://t.co/DCQUB2aqnx
— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) October 4, 2019
Diahann Carroll was a luminous, extraordinary, performer, and an even more beautiful human being. I’ll treasure memories of shared laughter, and of her incredible artistry. Farewell, beautiful Diahann.#diahanncarroll pic.twitter.com/IhC7PCs3JB
— Mitzi Gaynor (@TheMitziGaynor) October 4, 2019
Beauty. Power. Elegance. That voice. Diahann Carroll. Legendary. https://t.co/n7ckurHufu
— LaToya Morgan (@MorganicInk) October 4, 2019
Growing I thought she was the most beautiful, smart,warm, elegant yet earthy woman I’d ever seen . Then I heard her SING !! A strong, gifted & graceful maverick. Gratitude, love & light to Ms Carroll & her dear ones 🌟💖🙏💫 https://t.co/1Lz2PN95RS
— Donna Murphy (@DMurphyOfficial) October 4, 2019
I’m at an utter loss of words right now. The impact you have had on me, Hollywood, America, the World is telling that God exists.
— Lee Daniels (@leedanielsent) October 4, 2019
We are sad to say goodbye to a true icon, Diahann Carroll. The first African-American Tony winner in a leading role, winning for her performance in No Strings in 1962. #DiahannCarroll pic.twitter.com/C9VCzwuJmt
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) October 4, 2019