I read that Diahann Carroll with be the Guest Programmer with host Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies come September. Let's make a point to watch.
So, as a guy who deeply loves TCM, it's disappointed me a bit that we haven't seen more color in its line-up of guest hosts. Black guest hosts and guest programmers are rare. Remember TCM's "Friday Night Spotlight on Africa" last October? Who hosted that? Alex Trebek. Caucasian Canadian Alex Trebek. He's a terrific TV talent and he's delighted me for years as host of Jeopardy. But...maybe TCM could've have considered LeVar Burton, Lou Gossett Jr., Leslie Uggams, John Amos or Richard Roundtree (star of Shaft and the sequel Shaft in Africa). Those actors were in Roots, the classic epic TV mini-series that traced the history of African-Americans. Actor Delroy Lindo (The Cider House Rules) would've been another good choice. He was in one of the films that Trebek presented. If I was on the TCM production team, I would've pitched those black talents as possible hosts for last October's Spotlight on Africa.
I'd love to see African-American, Latino and Asian-American guest hosts on Turner Classic Movies. Believe me. The huge fan base for classic films is not just one color. That's why I'm thrilled to see Diahann Carroll booked for September 30th.
Here's how she made American showbiz history on film and on Broadway: Diahann Carroll is a Broadway veteran. She worked with Harold Arlen and Truman Capote for the 1954 Broadway musical, HOUSE OF FLOWERS. She acted onscreen opposite Dorothy Dandridge in CARMEN JONES, the 1954 musical drama that made Dandridge the first black woman to be an Oscar nominee for Best Actress. Diahann Carroll also worked in Dandridge's last Hollywood film, the deluxe 1959 film version of the Broadway musical, PORGY AND BESS. Sidney Poiter starred as Porgy. Otto Preminger directed both Dandridge musicals. Diahann Carroll and Sidney Poitier co-starred in Martin Ritt's PARIS BLUES along with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The two actresses played best friends on vacation in Paris who meet to jazz musicians who are also best friends. In this 1961 movie, Paul Newman flirts with the sophisticated Diahann Carroll. Top Hollywood stars, upscale interracial friendships and interracial flirting -- that was new turf for movies in those early days of the Civil Rights movement. The biggest and most intense national issues in America at that time were racial desegregation, voting rights for black people and racial equality in the workplace.
Diahann Carroll played a glamorous top fashion model, again an American in Paris, who falls in love with a white Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. They have a fine romance in France but would they face racial drama if they took their relationship back home to America? This early 1960s interracial love story was the Broadway musical NO STRINGS with music by Richard Rodgers. Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley introduced the song "The Sweetest Sounds." She made history as the first black woman to the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. What a shame that Hollywood didn't turn that socially progressive hit Broadway musical into a movie.
Diahann Carroll sang with showbiz and movie legend Judy Garland when she was a guest on Garland's Sunday night variety show on CBS.
Millions remember the glamorous Carroll as the beautifully bitchy Dominique Deveraux on the huge hit ABC TV series, Dynasty, in the 1980s.
I'm sure she will be sublime on TCM with Robert Osborne on Sept. 30th. Two of the film she's selected are Now, Voyager and Claudine. For your listening pleasure, Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley sing "The Sweetest Sounds" from the NO STRINGS original Broadway cast recording. Nominated for Best Musical, this production enabled Ms. Carroll to win a groundbreaking Tony Award for 1962's Best Lead Actress in a Musical.