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"Dynasty" star Diahann Carroll has died at 84

Television pioneer Diahann Carroll passes away at 84.
Photo credit:
"Dynasty"

Oscar-nominated actress and singer Diahann Carroll has passed away. She was 84. 

Her daughter Susan Kay, told the Associated Press that her mother died of cancer in Los Angeles on Friday. 

In 1968 the actress made TV history in the role of Julia for the sitcom of the same name, breaking ground as the first African American actress to portray someone who was not a maid.

Carroll was also very comfortable on the stage and screen, she won a Tony for "No Strings" and earned an Academy Award nomination for her part in "Claudine."

But her turn as wealthy and ruthless Dominque Deveraux in the 80's nighttime soap "Dynasty" is perhaps her most outrageous role. Dominque often went shade-to-shade with villainess Alexis Colby, a role made famous by Joan Collins.

Even though television had made great strides featuring black characters in the '80s, Caroll noticed there was still a lack of roles and pursued "Dynasty" producer Aaron Spelling for a part. 

"I certainly wasn't researching the number of blacks on TV, but how could you fail to see they're not there?" she once said. 

Spelling was convinced and cast her as Collins' equally confident counterpart.  

"I want to be the first black bitch on television," she once told her agent before getting the role. Carroll made history again as the first black woman to star prominently in a nighttime soap

She went on to play Dominique for three seasons on the show. 

Diahann Carroll: 1935 - 2019