Diahann Carroll, pioneering star of ‘Julia’ and ‘Dynasty,’ dead at 84

Posted at 1:23 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 13:23:01-04

Diahann Carroll, who pioneered television with her starring role in the 1968 series “Julia,” died Friday, her publicist Jeffrey Lane confirmed to CNN.

Carroll was 84.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 15: Diahann Carroll speaks at the 5th Annual March on Washington Film Festival on July 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for March on Washington Film Festival)

Lane said she died early Friday, following a battle with breast cancer.

Known as much for her talent as she was her beauty and elegance, Carroll was beloved for her work in “Julia,” as well as her subsequent performance as the wealthy and cultured Dominique Deveraux in the 1980s ABC prime-time soap opera “Dynasty.”

She became the first African-American woman to star in a network sitcom when “Julia” premiered on NBC in 1968.

Her role as widowed nurse Julia Baker, who was raising a charming young son, also broke ground for its portrayal of a black woman as something other than a domestic worker.

But while some called “Julia” groundbreaking for its non-stereotypical premise, others criticized the show for what they saw as a simplified depiction of the black experience in America in the late ’60s.

In 1998, Carroll told the Television Academy Foundation she was reluctant to do the series.

“I really didn’t believe that this was a show that was going to work,” she said of “Julia.” “I thought it was something that was going to relieve someone’s conscience for a very short period of time and I really thought ‘Let them go elsewhere.'”