Had to take a moment to salute the milestone birthday of one of my fave actresses and beauty role models, Diahann Carroll.
Carol Diahann Johnson was born on this day in New York (the Bronx) and as an infant moved to Harlem with her family. One of her high school classmates at the New York Music & Art High School was Billy Dee Williams and has had a long distinguished and trailblazing career in music, film, Broadway, and television.
In 1962 she won the first ever 'Best Actress' Tony Award given to an African American actress for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings. In 1963 she picked up her first Emmy nomination for the police drama Naked City.
In 1975 she picked up an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for the movie Claudine.
But the role just about everyone of my generation remembers her for besides Claudine is her groundbreaking 1968-71 NBC television series Julia.
She played widowed nurse Julia Baker, and picked up a 1968 Golden Globe Award for the role along with her second Emmy Award nomination in 1969. Carroll was the first African American actress to star in a TV show that cast her in a non-stereotypical role.
She joined the cast of Dynasty in 1984 as its first African American cast member and played the glamorous jetsetter Dominique Deveraux, the half sister of Blake Carrington. Dynasty reunited her with her high school classmate, who played her husband Brady Lloyd on the show.
My favorite role of hers besides Julia is A Different World's Marion Gilbert, the glamorous mother of Hillman College diva Whitley Gilbert. The recurring role earned her another Emmy Award nomination in 1989.
She had a recurring role of Aunt Ruthie on the HBO series Soul Food, for which she received two NAACP Image Award nominations
She was recently seen in 2006 on Grey's Anatomy playing Jane Burke, the demanding mother of Dr. Preston Burke.
You can also add author to this multitalented lady's resume thanks to her autobiography entitled 'The Legs Are The Last To Go'.
She's also a breast cancer survivor who has taken a leading role as a spokesperson in the African American community to heighten awareness of the disease.
Happy 75th birthday Diahann Carroll. May you continue to inspire and be a trailblazing role model for our community and age gracefully in the process.