Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #29 . . . 13 Interesting Facts & Juicy Tidbits from THE LEGS ARE THE LAST TO GO (by Diahann Carroll) . . .

Just about everyone knows Diahann Carroll, right? The African American actress who played Corey Baker's mom in the groundbreaking '60's television series Julia? Since that time Ms. Carroll has played quite a few other memorable tv "mom roles," among them Whitley's mom in A Different World and Preston Burke's mom in Grey's Anatomy. One of my favorite Diahann Carroll "mom roles" took place on the big screen when she played opposite James Earl Jones, in the '70s movie classic, Claudine. Surprising enough, the beautiful and talented Ms. Carroll also managed to pull off playing a b!tch, as Dominique Deveraux in the '80s tv series Dynasty.

I'm more than mid-way through Diahann Carroll's new memoir, The Legs Are The Last To Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying and Other Things I Learned The Hard Way, and I thought it might be both fun and somewhat englighting to share some of what I've discovered about her from my reading.

1) She's 73 years old.

2) She was born Carol Diann Johnson.

3) She considered giving the following title to her latest book--Too Old To Give A Damn: Things I Never Could Have Said While Working In Hollywood.

4) She was 19 when she starred in her first movie, Carmen Jones (she played one of Carmen's sidekicks).

5) Her first marriage was to Monte Kay, a man 17 years her senior and whose dark coloring and curly hair initially led Ms. Carroll to assume that he was African American, rather than Jewish.

6) Hal Kanter, the creator of Julia, wasn't sure Ms. Carroll was right for the role. He thought her a bit too worldly and glamorous.

7) She had a tumultuous 9 year affair with Sidney Poitier, which helped wreck her marriage to Monte Kay.

8) She admits to having had plastic surgery.

9) She admits to having undergone "medically guided" LSD therapy."

10) She lip-syched "Summertime" in the movie version of Porgy and Bess and while she loved the music in the movie, she despised its portrayal of African Americans.

11) She was once engaged to David Frost.

12) She was married to Vic Damone for 10 years.

13) In this book, Ms. Carroll comes off as very much "the diva" and a bit of a drama queen, but one with a truly wonderful sense of humor and grace about herself and her less than perfect past.

While I'm not yet finished with The Legs are The Last To Go, I'm already eager to go back and read the book Diahann Carroll penned in the '80s about her life, if ony to see what I missed (smile). Did you discover anything about Ms. Carroll that you didn't already know. Do you know anything about Ms. Carroll that you'd like to share?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Anonymous said...

well,I don't know her until I read your list. :)

On a limb with Claudia said...

Thanks for sharing this. She's such an inspiration and an icon. I simply cannot imagine her courage.

Happy TT

Nicholas said...

I remember when she was David Frost's girlfriend. I always thought she was stunning. She probably still is.

Yasmin said...

Like #3 tripping ova
Happy TT

Anonymous said...

I didn't know who she was until you mentioned Whitley. Now I've got a picture to go with the interesting info. Thanks.

Journeywoman said...

Thanks for sharing. I've always liked her.

Lori said...

Great list...Happy TT:)

Malcolm said...

I received this book last week and am looking forward to starting it next month. There are a few of these I didn't know (such as 5 and 8).

Another tidbit about Diahann Carroll is that she wasn't the first choice for the title role in "Claudine". It orig. went to the late Diana Sands (best known for playing Beneatha in the movie version of "A Raisin In the Sun"). When Ms. Sands was stricken with a rare form of cancer, Diahann stepped into the role of Claudine.

Anonymous said...

That's cool. I didn't know any of that but I do think she's a talented woman.

Debbie said...

Intersting list. I had forgotten about the show Julia until you mentioned it. It was one of my favorites when I was younger.

~Just Me~ said...

Great list! happy TT!

Anonymous said...

I love Dihann Caroll. I will have to add her book to my wish list! I had no idea she had written one!

Have a great TT!

pjazzypar said...

She and Billy Dee Williams were classmates at the New York City High School of the Performing Arts. She was once married to Robert DeLeon until he was killed in a car accident. I think he was either 17 or 23 years her junior (I ain't mad at her)!

Sharon J said...

I Ms. Carroll years ago at a department store in Cleveland. She was selling her wig line. She was very gracious and friendly. There was this stupid woman in the audience who asked her when she was getting married again, this was shortly after her husband Robert was killed in a car accident. The people in the audience booed the woman. Ms. Carroll said something like, "Yeah, I know," then moved on to the next question. I had a Julia doll as a girl. I'm really a big fan.

NaySue said...

Why, you make me want to buy the book. I haven't read a good biography in a minute!