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The Elegance, Style and Fabulous Talents of Diahann Carroll

Dc n white moire gownBorn to sing, Diahann Carroll became one of the most prolific entertainers of her time.

“All I ever wanted to do was sing. What happened was more.”


Diahann JohnsonDiahann Carroll – Born July 17, 1935

Some say she’s a Diva, I say she’s one Extraordinary Women the world had to take note of. 

It was evident her light would shine brightly from an early age. The talent and stunning beauty of Diahann Carroll was undeniable and opened many closed doors.  Inspite of the racism she faces Diahann Carroll became a force in television, in music and on broadway.  She was able to carve out an admirable film career as well. Her career has spanned six decades.  The life and legacy she created is a lesson in perserverance, grace and style.

I hope you enjoy this look at the momentus accomplishments and style of Ms. Diahann Carroll.  A woman who mastered the art of illusion and defined her own career as she rose to fame.  She’s almost 80 years now and still looks like God’s flower.  Everything abot her proves true talent can not be ignored.

A brief background

Diahann was the first child of John and Mabel Johnson.  Her father worked as a subway conductor in New York.   She attended The New York City High School of Music & Art in the 1950’s and Billy Dee Williams was her classmate.  The school later became the inspiration for the TV show “Fame”.

By the time Diahann was 15 years old she stood 6′ tall and began modeling for Ebony magazine.  At 18, she was singing professionally in night clubs and on TV.  At 19, Diahann played her first role on broadway in the play House of Flowers starring Pearl Bailey.  In 1968, she expanded the image of African American women to America in her landmark role as Julia.

There is so much to know and love about Diahann Carroll.  She’s a breast cancer survivor.  She was married 4 times. She’s a mother to one daughter and is a proud grandmother.

In 2008, she wrote her memoir “The Legs Are The Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way.  It’s a juicy read if you want to hear the story from her own lips.

A lot has been made of her beauty but Diahann Carroll said of herself “I’d like to be thought of as glamourous.” “I had to prove that I was lovely to look at.”

“I think what you look like is your responsibly to yourself.”-Diahann Carroll

 Here’s a look at some of her accomplishments and style.


Diahann Carroll at 15Diahann Carroll at age 15

Diahann-Carroll as Julia iwth Marc CopageDiahann Carroll was the 1st African American woman in a lead role on a TV series.  She played a non stereotypical role as Julia, a professional nurse.   The role was so vanilla but I still loved her as Julia.

Julia (US TV Series)Sharing a tender moment with her co-star Marc Copage on her TV show Julia. She won a golden globe for her role as Julia in 1968.

Julia DollMattel created and produced the Julia doll from from 1969 – 1972.  Did you have one?


Diahann Carroll w Pearl Baily House of FlowersDiahann Carroll in her 1st stage role “House of Flowers” starring Pearl Bailey.

Carmen Jones with BoxerDiahann Carroll had a small but memorable part in the movie “Carmen Jones”.  It was her 1st movie in 1954.

DC with Sidney Poiter in Paris for movie DC w Poiter ParisFilming the movie Paris Blues in 1961 with leading man and love interest Sidney Poitier.

They were engaged but never married.

DIAHANN CARROLL SWLooking casual chic by her car.

Actress Diahann Carroll in JuliaIn the play “No Strings”, Diahann Carroll rose to new heights.

No strings on broadwayOn broadway, Diahann recieved the Tony Award for her role in No Strings in 1962.

DC at Watts Tower, LA in 1967Giving us movie star glam in Los Angeles in 1967.

CBTFE6In Britain giving the world glamour  Jackie O style.

Diahann Carroll in a chevron coat Diahann giving us glam and flavor – I’d still wear her coat today.

DC w James Earl Jones in ClaudineIn 1974, she starred in Claudine replacing Diana Sands due to ailing health.  Diahann was nominated for Academy award for her role.

DC in hot pants freshStyling in hot pants in the 70’s.

Singing heart out Throughout the 1970’s Diahann was a frequent guest on talk-variety shows like the Steve Allen Show, Merv Griffin Show and David Frost Show (who she was engaged to but never married).  

Diahann Carroll in "No Strings"She had her own music-variety show, The Diahann Carroll Show, in 1976

NBC 09Showing the sillier side of this multi-faceted actress – Diahann Carroll.

DC with dress classicLooking picture perfect in a white dress.

DC w Bob Mackie fashion designer for DynastyBob Mackie was her costume designer for her variety show and Dynasty.

Did you know Diahann Carroll was cast as the 1st Black b—- on TV when she played in Dynasty?

Dominique Deveraux aka Diahann Carroll in DynastyShe gave Joan Collins a run for her money as her half-sister.

DYNASTY, Linda Evans, Diahann Carroll, Joan Collins, 1981-1989Take a stand ladies the queen B has the seat!

DC as Whitley's momShe was a part of the hit series “A Different World” in the 1990’s playing Whitley’s mother.

Her roles across film and stage have been too numerous to mention.  Once you’ve heard her voice the serenade is etched in your memory.  With a career that has spanned six decades you are one marvelous example for anyone to follow.

I am grateful to Diahann Carroll for who she is and every door she opened for African American women.


Diahann Carroll as Norma Desmond in Sunset BlvdShe portrayed silent screen diva Norma Desmond in the musical version of “Sunset Blvd”in 1995.

HAVING OUR SAY with Ruby & DiahannOn Broadway portraying century-old Sadie Delany in Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years  with famed actress and friend Ruby Dee (1999)

Carroll in her 70'sMs. Carroll looking oh, so cool in her seventies.

diahann-carroll-kerry-washington 2011 O magAgain, with Kerry Washington.  Seventies never looked so good.

Diahann Carroll book The legs are the last to goYou can get the whole story by reading her book “The Legs are the Last to Go”.


Diahann Carroll “I like to think I opened doors for other women,

although that wasn’t my original intention.”

Inspite of the challenges she faced as an African American woman Diahann Carroll managed to let her talent shine.

I find that highly admirable.

Thank You Ms. Diahann Carroll

until next time ….

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    • Elle


      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post on the fabulous Diahann Carroll. She is one marvelous lady! Hope you will comeback for my next “Style Icon” post.