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Diahann Carroll Remembered by Hollywood: She ‘Broke Ground With Every Footstep’

Variety logo Variety 10/4/2019 Mackenzie Nichols
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(Video provided by Reuters)

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.

Diahann Carroll wearing a red shirt © 20th Century Fox Tv/Kobal/Shutte 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.

Oprah Winfrey said, “Thanks for helping clear the path for me and so many others.”

“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.

Actress and producer Dana Delany also shared her condolences via Twitter, calling Carroll “a goddess.”

Debbie Allen, who co-starred with Carroll in the television short “Sunday in Paris,” said “you taught us so much.”

“Mixed‑ish” star Tika Sumpter took a moment to thank Carroll for “blazing trails.”

Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. called her a “transformative force for freedom.”

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.”

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