Remembering Diahann

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Dihann Carroll died Oct. 4, 2019, at the age of 84.

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Groundbreaking, inspirational, trailblazing, beautiful — all words that have been used to describe the iconic Diahann Carroll. The Grammy Award, NAACP Image Award, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning Carroll left an indelible legacy (read Carroll’s biography here.) A pioneer amongst pioneers, she stood alongside black women the likes of Lena Horne, Ruby Dee, and Diana Sands (learn more about Dee and Sands here) all of whom were trailblazers in their own right. Since her passing at 84-years-old on Oct 4, 2019, numerous stories and tributes of her life are readily accessible.

Do not misunderstand that a well-placed big-haired shoulder-padded stunt-double brawl between Dominique Deveraux and Alexis Colby of Dynasty always escalated the ratings. Carroll’s theatrical/movie career stands on its own, but her tender performance of “Quiet Nights” in 1964 on the Judy Garland show, in my opinion, encapsulated her. Carroll appears in a white, wide-leg pantsuit covered in a sheer, waist-length ostrich-trimmed, trapeze-cut blouse, with boat-neck and bell sleeves, a Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie design, surely chosen to accent the airy floating strings of the bossa nova instrumentals.

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Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) left, and Domonique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll).

She is in her youth and she is simply captivating. Her performance is full-bodied and sumptuous, and the mere fact the song, within itself, is beauty, Carroll’s distinct sensuality punctuates its soft indulgence. She alters one word in the lyrics creating a pivotal adjustment, addressing her lover.

“Quiet nights and quiet stars/Quiet chords from ‘your’ guitar” —  as opposed to the original lyrics —”Quiet chords from ‘my’ guitar.

She incorporates her theatrical expertise in her vocal projection and restraint.  Desire beams from her eyes. She sways and floats in rhapsody, conveying more genuine emotion than in most modern performances and at a moment it seems she almost cannot contain her undiluted joy. 

Where she is you want to be also.

She is elegant, chic, refined and as always, much like her portrayal in life, exudes class. Appreciate, for yourself, the one-and-only, Diahann Carroll.

Special Thanks to Professor Amanda Hallay creator of The Ultimate Fashion History


More from the Class in Class archives.

Screen Shot 2019 12 05 at 9.54.39 AMConstance Cherise is a classic film aficionado. Reach her at and check out her website here.


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!