Diahann Carroll has blessed us twice with memorable roles for Black women on television.
In 1968, with Julia.
And, then again, in 1984 with Dominique Deveraux on Dynasty.
I wasn’t born when Julia came on, but I remember Dominique. I LOVED Dynasty. Loved it. And, to see this beautiful, elegant, dressed from head to toe, and going mano-a-mano with Alexis Carrington et al? Loved it.
<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_(TV_series)Julia is an American sitcom notable for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. Previous television series featured African American lead characters, but the characters were usually servants. The show stars actress and singer Diahann Carroll, and ran for 86 episodes on NBC from September 17, 1968 to March 23, 1971. The series was produced by Savannah Productions, Inc., Hanncarr Productions, Inc., and 20th Century-Fox Television.
During pre-production, the proposed series title was Mama’s Man. The series was also unique in that it was among the few situation comedies in the late 1960s that did not use a laugh track; however, 20th Century-Fox Television added them when the series was reissued for syndication and cable rebroadcasts in the late 1980s.
In Julia, Carroll played widowed single mother Julia Baker (her husband, Army Capt. Baker, an O-1 Bird Dog artillery spotter pilot had been shot down in Vietnam) who was a nurse in a doctor’s office at a large aerospace company. The doctor, Morton Chegley, was played by Lloyd Nolan, and Julia’s romantic interests by Paul Winfield and Fred Williamson. Julia’s son, Corey (Marc Copage) was approximately six to nine years old during the series run. He had barely known his father before he died. Corey’s best friend is Earl J. Waggedorn (called by that precise full name each and every time). The Waggedorns lived downstairs in the same apartment building, with Len (Hank Brandt), Marie (Betty Beaird), son Earl J. Waggedorn (Michael Link) and infant son.
The first two seasons included Nurse Hannah Yarby (Lurene Tuttle), who left to be married at the beginning of the third season, just as the clinic’s manager, Brockmeyer, ordered downsizing — and removal of minorities from employment. (Chegley let Yarby go but kept Julia in defiance of the manager’s edict.) The second and third season included Richard (Richard Steele) as a character some one or two years older than Corey. Chegley’s father, Dr. Norton Chegley (also played by Lloyd Nolan) made two appearances.
Dominique Deveraux (born Millie Cox; formerly Lloyd) is a fictional character on the American TV series Dynasty and its spin-off The Colbys. The role was portrayed by Diahann Carroll from 1984 through 1987.
Behind the scenes
Dominique was added as a foil for Joan Collins’ Alexis, though when the character was originally written, the producers had not decided how to use her. A number of scenes were filmed to introduce her (to circumvent any chance the storyline would leak to the press) including alternative lines that revealed Dominique to be the mother of Kirby Anders, and also the former wife of Cecil Colby.
When first landing the role, actress Diahann Carroll stated that she wanted to be television’s “first black bitch”. She appeared as Dominique in 71 episodes of Dynasty, and 7 episodes of The Colbys. Carroll, who is also a singer, was repeatedly featured rehearsing and/or performing songs on several episodes of both series.