Diahann Carroll died on Friday in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 84 years old. Her daughter, Suzanne Kay, confirmed the news. The pioneering actress was the first black woman to win the Tony Award for best actress in 1962, for her work in the musical No Strings. She also received Oscar and Emmy nods throughout her illustrious career.
Born in the Bronx, Carroll is best known for playing the titular character in the NBC sitcom Julia and for busting stereotypes surrounding the portrayals of African-American television characters. Her character, Julia Baker, was a widowed, middle-class nurse raising a young son. Of the show, Carroll said, “We were saying to the country, ‘We’re going to present a very upper middle-class black woman raising her child, and her major concentration is not going to be about suffering in the ghetto.’”
Carroll went on to earn an Oscar nomination for her role in the film Claudine, and later appeared on the popular primetime soap opera Dynasty.