What can one say about a real, living legend, a pioneer, and a role model in so many ways? Miss Diahann Carroll. The consummate entertainer, Diahann Carroll has appearing in nightclubs, on the Broadway stage, been a Las Vegas headliner, starred in motion pictures and television. Diahann Carroll is a Tony Award winner, an Emmy and Grammy nominee, a Golden Globe winner and a Best Actress Oscar nominee. Currently she’s wrapping up filming the final season of the USA Network series “White Collar”. And she recently starred in the film “Peeples” with Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson.
Though she started in TV in 1963, she made TV history in 1968 starring in “Julia”, the first African-American woman to star in a major network television series. She was nominated for an Emmy as Whitley’s mother in “A Different World” and as one of the power divas on the legendary nighttime soap opera “Dynasty”. Carroll’s other TV series have included “Soul Food”, “Strong Medicine” and co-starring with Whoopie Goldberg in “Whoopie”.
Her film roles are numerous. From “Claudine”, for which she received a 1974 Academy Award Best Actress nomination to “Carmen Jones”, “Paris Blues”, “Porgy & Bess”, “Hurry Sundown”, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and “Eve’s Bayou”. On Broadway she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in “No Strings”, a production written especially for her. She also starred in other Broadway productions “Agnes of God”, “House of Flowers” (her first Broadway production). She also toured in “Sunset Boulevard” playing the legendary Norma Desmond character. Because of the limitations of time interviews with Black Expo celebrities, I didn’t spend as much time with this living entertainment legend. But the time was well worth it meeting and listening to the wisdom of Diahann Carroll.
Louis Gossett Jr. is one of this country’s most prolific and versatile actors earning acclaim on stage, but especially on TV and in movies. His first break occurred at age 16 when he appeared on Broadway in 1953 in “Take A Giant Step”. His next big break came in appearing in the stage and film versions of the acclaimed Lorraine Hansberry story “A Raisin in the Sun”. Gossett appeared in numerous TV shows and movies and then came his launch into superstardom in the memorial role of Fiddler in the landmark ABC miniseries “Roots” in 1977. Before then her appeared in numerous movies, including co-starring with the late James Garner in “The Skin Game”. After his riveting performance with Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset in “The Deep”, Lou Gossett achieved the role of a lifetime as the tough by-the-book drill sergeant in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) which won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In our interview, Louis Gossett revealed that he’s appearing in that new CBS summer series “Extant” that starts Halle Berry. Viewers will first see him on TV in about a week. I also talked with Gossett about his new occupation. His foundation called Eracism. Gossett is dedicating the last part of his life to an all-out conscientious offensive against racism. Says Gossett, “Violence is a war, and the energy we exert on war, I would like to pray that energy gets reverted back to a communal effort to save the planet. So perhaps in my own small way I can generate some energy toward the salvation of the planet because when we win a war we win a dying planet.” It was a distinct honor to meet and talk with him, albeit briefly. Click the Media Player to Hear My Exclusive Interview with Diahann Carroll and Louis Gossett Jr. ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.
Diahann Carroll – Runs 6 Minutes Louis Gossett Jr – Runs 4 Minutes