Diahann Carroll

The girl from the Bronx who romanced Sir David Frost and Sidney Poitier and found worldwide fame as Dynasty's sultry singer. Four husbands later and she's still going strong.


Carol Diann Johnson was born on 17 July 1935 in the Bronx, New York to Subway conductor John Johnson and Mabel Faulk Johnson. Music was an important part of her life from a young age as she started singing with her Harlem church choir at the age of six years. She also took piano and voice lessons as she wanted to pursue a career in the opera before acting took over.

Diahann Carroll was the first African-American actress to have her own television show, entitled 'Julia'. Amid all the lightweight comedy of primetime viewing, Carroll's character - a nurse and single mother whose husband died in Vietnam – stood out.

It was not a very controversial show, but it was polished and pleased the audience, coming in the top ten ratings in 1969 and winning Carroll a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for Best Actress.

Before her TV fame, Carroll was a student at the respected High School of Music and Art in New York. While studying at NYU, she worked as a part-time model and night club singer before making her film debut.

She had also entered Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts at the age of 19 years under the more glamorous name Diahann Carroll, which she went on to win. After this, she performed on the accompanying radio show for three weeks. Her first Broadway role occurred when she was 19-years-old in the musical 'House of Flowers'.

This was followed by roles in 'Carmen Jones' with Dorothy Dandridge in 1954, 'Porgy and Bess' (1959) and 'Paris Blues' (1961) before returning to Broadway and taking the lead in 'Julia' in 1968.

Carroll also married during this period getting hitched on 26 February 1956 to Monte Kay. She gave birth to their daughter Suzanne in September 1960. They divorced in 1963 and she went on to be engaged to Sidney Poitier.

With the end of 'Julia' in 1971, Carroll played a mother supporting six children on welfare in 'Claudine', for which she was nominated for an Oscar. On 21 February 1973, she shocked everyone by marrying Fredrick Glusman as she was engaged to Sir David Frost at this time. Her second marriage lasted several weeks with Carroll filing for divorce on grounds of physical abuse.

She went on to marry Robert DeLeon in 1975 but this match ended prematurely when DeLeon was killed in a car accident in 1977. Carroll proceeded to wed Vic Damone in 1987 but they too divorced in 1996.

Then there were lots of films and TV shows, the most glamorous being her three-year stint on 'Dynasty' in the late 1980s.

Carroll returned to making music and stage acting in the 1990s, and capitalised on her image to start a line of wigs, clothes and accessories. She won a very public battle with breast cancer in 1997 and is currently working in TV.

Her most notable roles of the past decade include parts in 'The Legend of Tarzan' (2001), 'Soul Food' (2003-04) and 'Grey's Anatomy' between 2006 and 2007. In 2009, she took on the character June in 'White Collar', which is still running to this day. Carroll also acted in 'Diary of a Single Mom' from 2010 to 2011. She also starred in the movie 'Tyler Perry Presents Peeples' in 2013.