Diahann Carroll

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Oscar-nominated actress Diahann Carroll, the actress and singer who rose to fame after starring in the TV series Julia, has died at the age of 84.

Susan Kay, Carroll’s daughter, revealed to The AP that her mother passed away Friday in Los Angeles of cancer. Carroll had a storied career in Hollywood which began with Fox’s show Julia. The show followed Carroll, a widowed single mother after her husband was killed in the Vietnam war,  a nurse at a doctor’s office.

But more important than the theme of the show was how pioneering it was. Julia was the first show to depict a Black woman in a nonstereotypical, nonservant role. It ran from 1968 to 1971 and would go on to be nominated for a few Emmys and even won a Golden Globe Award in 1969 for Carroll’s role as Julia Baker.

During her lengthy career, the Bronx-born actress earned a Tony Award for the musical “No Strings” and an Academy Award nomination for best actress for Claudine, where Carroll played a maid to a very wealthy suburban family.

Ava DuVernay, a pioneer for Black women in entertainment in her own right, took to Twitter to offer her condolences.

“Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon. One of the all-time greats,” the director wrote on Twitter. “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.”

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