Actress and singer Diahann Carroll has died after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 84. Carroll's daughter, Susan Kay confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday, Oct. 4.
Carroll is best known for being the first Black actress to star in a non-servant role in a television series as a nurse in "Julia".
Julia Baker was a single mom whose husband died in the Vietnam war. The groundbreaking series ran from 1968 to 1971.
Critics said the TV series was not a realistic portrayal of Black women's experience in America in the 1960s and ‘70s. But Carroll dismissed the criticism,
"They said it was a fantasy. All of this was untrue. Much about the character of Julia I took from my own life, my family," Carroll said in 1988.
Carroll earned an Oscar nomination for her role as a single mother who finds love in the 1974 film Claudine.
Carroll is pictured with her Claudine co-star James Earl Jones in a promo still from the movie.
The critically acclaimed singer also earned a Tony Award for the musical "No Strings".
She went on to play parts in films and TV - roles that were traditionally reserved for white actresses, such as ABC's hit drama "Dynasty".
"I like to think that I opened doors for [Black] women, although that wasn't my original intention," she said in 2002. She is pictured below with a young Angela Bassett at the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund 18th Anniversary Awards Gala in 2005.
Born Carol Diann Johnson in New York City, she attended the High School for the Performing Arts. Her father was a subway conductor and her mother was a housewife and homemaker.
Carroll was romantically linked to Harry Belafonte, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Sidney Poitier and David Frost. She was married four times.
Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She was "stunned" by the diagnosis because there was no family history of cancer and she lived a healthy lifestyle.
She once said, "We all look forward to the day that mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation are considered barbaric."
Carroll leaves behind a daughter, Suzanne Kay Bamford (born 1960).