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Diahann Carroll

2016 New Standard Award


Actress and singer Diahann Carroll was a prominent figure in the entertainment world for nearly fifty years. Carroll attended Music & Art High School in the Bronx, where she was a classmate of Billy Dee Williams. At the age of eighteen she won a contest on the weekly television program Chance of a Lifetime, singing Kern and Hammerstein’s “Why Was I Born?” Engagements at Café Society and other New York City nightclubs soon followed, launching her now-legendary career.


In 1954, Carroll made her film debut in Carmen Jones. That same year, she starred in the musical House of Flowers on Broadway. In 1959, Carroll played Clara in the film version of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. She later starred with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward in the 1961 film Paris Blues. Carroll is recognized for her title role in the 1968 television series Julia, which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker. She would later appear on the primetime soap opera Dynasty, and played recurring roles in A Different World and Grey’s Anatomy.


Carroll won Best Leading Actress at the 1962 Tony Awards for her portrayal of Barbara Woodruff in the Samuel A. Taylor and Richard Rodgers musical No Strings; she was the first Black actress to earn this award. In 1974, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Claudine. Carroll was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2011, and received nominations for multiple Daytime Emmy Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and an Academy Award.


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