Diahann Carroll is the consummate entertainer. So varied and dynamic are her gifts that she continually astounds fans and critics alike with her versatility and magnetism. She is one of America’s major performing talents appearing in nightclubs, the Broadway stage, a Las Vegas headliner, in motion pictures, and television. Carroll is a Tony Award winner, an Emmy and Grammy nominee, a Golden Globe winner, and a Best Actress Oscar nominee. She was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for her recurring role on the hit show Grey’s Anatomy.
Carroll’s memoir, The Legs are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way (Amistad), like her life and career, is anything but conventional. The book won the NAACP Image Award for Biography/Autobiography. She reveals what it’s like to be a trail blazer, “television’s first black bitch,” and an aging star in Tinseltown. A born raconteur, she talks frankly about her four marriages and other affairs, including her courtship with Sidney Poitier, racial politics in Hollywood and on Broadway, and the personal cost – particularly to her family – of being a pioneer. Whether she’s sharing stories about her audition for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Sunset Boulevard, reflecting on her engagement to David Frost, or talking candidly about her brush with breast cancer, Carroll is sure to do what she does best: entertain.
In April 2006, she debuted her new cabaret show at Feinstein’s, New York’s prime venue, to sell-out audiences receiving overwhelming reviews. Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote, “Throughout the show Ms. Carroll demonstrates her A-to-Z range as a singing actress.” The New York Post said, “Looking impossibly beautiful for her 70 years, and dressed and coiffed in a manner that would make Norma Desmond (whom she played in Sunset Boulevard) proud, she delivers in a strong voice remarkably unaffected by age, a well-chosen mixture of standards, pop ballads, and songs associated with her stage career.”
Carroll’s television nominations go back to 1963, and in 1968 she become the first black actress in television history to star in her own series, Julia for NBC, which soared to the top of the Nielsen ratings and received an Emmy nomination in its first year on the air.
In 1989 she was nominated for an Emmy Award for the successful NBC-TV series A Different World as outstanding actress in a comedy series. In 1984 Carroll become the first black actress to star in the award-winning night-time series Dynasty, which is still in syndication around the world.
Carroll had a recurring role in Showtime’s hit series Soul Food, playing the outspoken Aunt Ruthie, for which she was nominated twice for a NAACP Image Award. She guest starred in Lifetime TV’s Strong Medicine and in NBC-TV’s Whoopi, playing Whoopi Goldberg’s mother. In 2004 she starred on stage in the musical Bubbling Brown Sugar, receiving critical acclaim.
In 1995 she starred on stage as Norma Desmond in the Toronto premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard, staged by director Trevor Nunn and the show’s entire original creative team. Hailed by the press as “the ultimate Norma Desmond,” Carroll played to sell-out crowds and her Canadian cast recording outsold all other recordings of the show.
Carroll made her Broadway stage debut starring in Harold Arlen and Truman Capote’s House of Flowers. After seeing her in this production, Richard Rodgers created the Broadway production No Strings as a starring vehicle for her, for which she won the Tony Award.Carroll also starred on Broadway in the award-winning play Agnes of God.
Carroll’s film work includes Claudine, for which she received a 1974 Best Actress Academy Award nomination, Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Porgy & Bess, Hurry Sundown, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and Eve’s Bayou.
She is an award-winning actress, a successful entrepreneur, a devoted humanitarian ... indeed Diahann Carroll is a legend.