Pioneering actress Diahann Carroll was remembered by Hollywood and Broadway today as an icon, an inspiration and a beloved friend.
“This one cuts deeply,” tweeted actress Holly Robinson Peete. “My mom & Ms Diahann were friends since they were 14. She was a pioneer on so many levels. She made me believe I could be on television! I loved & cherished and idolized her like a daughter…. ”
Carroll, the star of TV’s Julia, Dynasty and a Broadway Tony Award winner, died today at her home in Los Angeles following a long battle against breast cancer.
“She blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow,” tweeted Ava DuVernay.
“You taught us so much,” said actress and choreographer Debbie Allen.
Producer and series creator Shonda Rhimes, in a statement, drew comparisons to (and a lineage from) Carroll’s Julia and Dynasty characters and Scandal‘s Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington. Rhimes describes writing a role for Carroll on Grey’s Anatomy – the actress played Jane Burke, mother of Isaiah Washington’s Dr. Preston Burke – as “the honor of a lifetime.”
Here are some reactions from colleagues and friends.
Shonda Rhimes, Creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice: “The power and impact of Diahann Carroll is immeasurable. As the first, she escorted the tv drama into the 20th century. Her Julia Baker is queen mother to Olivia Pope’s existence. Her Dominque Devereux is fairy godmother to Olivia’s fierce style. Because of her, I could. Writing her as Preston Burke’s mother was the honor of a lifetime. Knowing her was everything. A hero has gone to glory.”