Pinagluksa ng Hollywood ang pagpanaw ng legendary actress na si Diahann Carroll sa tahanan nito sa Los Angeles, California noong nakaraang October 4 after a long battle with cancer. She was 84.
Tinawag na "trailblazer" and "pioneer" for black women in Hollywood si Diahann dahil sa pag-break niya ng ilang barriers of racism sa entertainment industry.
Si Diahann ang first black woman na maging lead actress sa sarili niyang TV sitcom noong 1968 titled Julia na tungkol sa isang nurse na single parent. Nanalo siya rito ng Golden Globe Award.
Nilabanan ng aktres ang paglabas ng black women sa stereotypical servant roles on television. Puro raw kasi role ng maids ang binibigay sa mga black women noon. Pinaglaban ni Diahann na puwedeng gumanap ang black women bilang middle class professionals.
"The show was a breakthrough, but also weathered criticism for presenting what some felt was a suburban fantasy rather than a grittier depiction of the black experience in America," sey ni Diahann sa kanyang 1986 book titled "Diahann".
Si Diahann din ang unang black woman na manalo ng best actress sa Tony Awards para sa Broadway musical na No Strings. Siya rin ang ikaapat na black actress na nakakuha ng best actress nomination sa Academy Awards para sa pelikulang Claudine in 1975.
In 1984, she became the first "black bitch" sa lumabas sa TV series na Dynasty. Ang kanyang character na si Dominique Deveraux ang naging katapat ng character ni Joan Collins na Alexis Carrington.
Nagbigay pugay ang ilang celebrities via Twitter and Instagram sa naging legacy ni Diahann Carroll sa Hollywood. Kabilang na rito ay ang Queen of Talk na si Oprah Winfrey, singer Dionne Warwick, ang multi-awarded actress na si Viola Davis, Scandal star Kerry Washington, Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Empire star Taraji P. Henson, dancer-director Debbie Allen, actress Gabrielle Union at ang film director na si Ava DuVernay.
Oprah Winfrey: "Thanks for helping clear the path for me and so many others. I was honored to salute you as a Legend then, now and Forever. #RIPDiahannCarroll"
Dionne Warwick: "My dear friend and mentor, Diahann Carroll. A groundbreaking talent."
Viola Davis: "My greatest blessing is that I had the honor to connect with you on a personal level. You shared your humor, your mess, your mistakes, your talent....You were authentic. As a woman and actress of color that will be your legacy. You left it all on the floor and we were shifted by it. Rest well Queen #DiahannCarroll. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest❤️❤️❤️"
Kerry Washington: "I love you for eternity. With all my heart. I am because of you."
Audra McDonald: "That was such a fun night. She was such an amazing force of nature but also sweet, funny, down to earth, and always willing to share her wisdom with you. Every question I ever asked her she answered. We have lost such a legend today."
Taraji P. Henson: "#RIPDiahannCarroll thank you for paving the way!!! It was an honor to know you Queen!!! Your legacy will live on through us all!!!🙏🏾💋💋💋"
Debbie Allen: "Diahann Carroll you taught us so much. We are stronger, more beautiful and risk takers because of you. We will forever sing your praises and speak your name. Love Love Love."
Gabrielle Union: "She is, was, and forever will be AN ICON!! Simply everything, EVERYTHING!"
Ava DuVernay: "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."
Born Carol Diann Johnson in Harlem, New York on July 17, 1935, nagsimulang maging model si Diahann sa edad na 15. Naging model siya para sa first black Barbie dolls. She took up a course in sociology sa New York University, pero hindi niya ito natapos dahil pinili niya ang magkaroon ng acting and singing career.
At age 18, she won $1,000 on the TV show "Chance of a Lifetime," na siyang naging daan para ituloy niya ang kanyang Hollywood dream.
Sa edad na 19, nakuha niya ang first Hollywood role niya appearing opposite Dorothy Dandridge sa film musical na Carmen Jones in 1954. Nasundan ito ng magagandang roles sa mga pelikulang Porgy and Bess, The Five Heartbeats, and Eve's Bayou.
Inamin ni Diahann na kahit may name na siya sa Hollywood, naranasan pa rin niya ang racism sa Hollywood. Pero nilabanan niya ang sistemang ito at patuloy siyang lumabas sa ilan pang big Hollywood movies tiulad ng Paris Blues and Hurry Sundown. Pinili rin siyang makatrabaho ng big Hollywood stars tulad nila Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Newman, Michael Caine and Jane Fonda.
In 1954, na-penetrate ni Diahann ang Broadway and she made her debut in "House of Flowers". Nasundan ito ng "Same Time, Next Year", "Love Letters", "Agnes of God" and "Sunset Boulevard".
In 1971, nagkaroon ng sariling TV variety special si Diahann na "The Diahann Carroll Special".
Nanatiling aktibo sa pag-arte si Diahann sa guestings niya sa TV series na A Different World, Grey's Anatomy and White Collar.
Diahann was married four times: Monte Kay (1956), Fred Glusman (1973), Robert DeLeon (1975) and Vic Damone (1987). She has one daughter named Suzanne Kay who is a producer and journalist.
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