Diahann Caroll

Born: 17th July 1935

Died: 4th October 2019

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Actress, Singer and Television Host

Diahann Caroll appeared in the hit U.S. medical show, Grey’s Anatomy.

Caroll won a Tony Award in 1962 for Best Lead Actress in a Musical.

Caroll won a Golden Globe Award in 1969 for Best TV Star.

If you’re not invited to the party, throw your own.

Diahann Caroll

Life story


Early life


Diahann Caroll was born to a working class African American family. Her father worked as a subway conductor, and her mother was a nurse. She grew up in Harlem, New York, which was bursting with African American culture, musicians, actors, and artists all working to make a new, better life – especially from the oppressive segregation laws in the South. This greatly influenced Caroll.


Her first performance was in church, in the children’s choir. From an early age, Caroll was highly talented. She won a scholarship to the University of New York, where she studied sociology, as well as acting, and modelling on the side to make extra money.


Performing year


After completing college, she dedicated herself to the arts, and could be found singing on television, in nightclubs, and on Broadway, where she won a Tony Award.


Throughout her career she was a barrier-breaker for African Americans, and took many risks in order to achieve great things in her career and pursue her passion.


From 1954, she featured in countless movies. She is most famous for her starring role in the television show Julia, in 1971. She was the first African American woman to run her own television show, and used this platform to portray African Americans in a non-stereotyped way, which earned her admiration and fame. After retiring from acting, she wrote autobiographies and memoirs.

How do you think her childhood influenced her? What word would you use to describe Caroll? What is something we should take away and learn from Caroll’s story?

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