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L.A. joins tributes to TV pioneer Diahann Carroll

LOS ANGELES — Accolades continue to pour in for actress and singer Diahann Carroll who died Oct. 4 at the age of 84 from complications with breast cancer.

Carroll was an award-winning actress, breast cancer survivor and activist who starred on stage, film and television. Her battle with cancer began in 1998 when she had surgery to remove a small cancerous growth.

Jackée Harry, who worked alongside Carroll in the 2000 film “Twice in a Lifetime,” took to Twitter to share how much Carroll meant to her.

“I’m absolutely devastated by the passing of Diahann Carroll,” Harry said. “As a child, I looked up to her. As an adult, I was honored to call her a mentor & friend.”

She ended her Twitter thread writing “Thank you for being an important soul in my life. I love you, Ms. Carroll.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay said Carroll “walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon.”

“One of the all-time greats, she blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow,” DuVernay added.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters released a statement about the passing of her friend.

“I am saddened by the death of my friend, Diahann Carroll, whose extraordinary talent, stunning beauty, and passionate activism blazed a path in Hollywood and on Broadway for future generations of African-American entertainers,” Waters said.

“Diahann Carroll will always be remembered not only for her talent, poise, wit and beauty, but also for her resilience and courage. She defied every stereotype, refused to be typecast or placed in a box, and opened doors for the diversity of roles and casting that we see today in Hollywood,” Waters added.

“I join millions of fans around the world in mourning the loss of this iconic and legendary pioneer, and I extend my deepest sympathies to her daughter, grandchildren, relatives, and friends.”

Carroll began her career modeling for Ebony at the age of 15 and participating in talent contests.

She debuted in 1954 taking on a supporting role in the film “Carmen Jones” and starring in the Broadway musical, “House of Flowers.”

Carroll made history in 1962 when she won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her work in “No Strings.” Her win made her the first African-American woman to win in the category.

Her television debut was a leading role in the 1968 television series “Julia,” where she starred as the widowed single mother Julia Baker who was a nurse at an aerospace company’s doctor’s office. She would make history once again with this role being the first African-American woman to star as a character that was not a domestic worker.

She also won a Golden Globe award for the revolutionary role in the category of Best TV Star in 1969.

She went on to star in “Carmen Jones,” “Porgy and Bess,” and notably “Claudine,” the 1974 film about a single mother in Harlem raising six children on welfare who finds love in a garbage man played by James Earl Jones.

The NAACP awarded Carroll with an Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture in 1975 for her role in “Claudine.”

She returned to TV playing feisty fashionista Dominique Devereaux on the primetime soap opera “Dynasty” in 1981. She lobbied producer Aaron Spelling for the role, recalling for People magazine in a 1984 interview, “I want to be wealthy and ruthless … I want to be the first black bitch on television.”

She did three seasons on the ABC series and its spinoff, “The Colbys,” often dueling with fellow diva Alexis Carrington Colby, played by Joan Collins, who took to Twitter to post video of “some of the wonderful scenes that Diahann and I shared on ‘Dynasty.’”

In recent years, Carroll starred in television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “White Collar,” and films like “Tyler Perry Presents Peeples” and “The Masked Saint.” Carroll received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990 and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011.

She received nominations for numerous awards throughout the years from the Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, Academy Awards, Women in Film Awards and the NAACP.

Oprah Winfrey was among those who eulogized Carroll in social media posts.

“Thanks for helping clear the path for me and so many others,” Winfrey said.

Television producer Shonda Rhimes, who’s responsible for TV series as “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” also credited Carroll with helping to pave the way for her career in Hollywood.

“The power and impact of Diahann Carroll is immeasurable,” said Rhimes, who cast Carroll as the mother of one of the main characters in seasons three and four of her long-running medical drama series.

“As the first, she escorted the TV drama into the 20th century,” Rhimes said in a posting. “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.”

Carroll was married four times, including to singer Vic Damone, and also had romances with actor Sidney Poitier and talk-show host David Frost.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include two grandchildren, August and Sydney.

No funeral information was announced.