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The NAACP mourns the passing of Oscar-nominated actress and singer Diahann Carroll, the first African American actress to star in a non-stereotypical role in a network television series.

“Diahann Carroll will always be remembered as a talented and fearless trailblazer in our community who broke down barriers and represented our stories,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “Her life and her work will continue to inspire us for generations and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

Throughout her career, Carroll carried herself with a level of class and sophistication that was all her own. Her groundbreaking role in the 1968 sitcom “Julia,” not only transcended racial boundaries at the height of the civil rights movement but also paved the way for other Black actresses in Hollywood, changing the entertainment industry forever.

In 1975, Carroll was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Claudine, and was nominated in 2000 for Outstanding Actress in a Mini-Series/TV Movie for Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, and in 2005 earned another Image Award nomination, this time for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Drama Series, for Soul Food.