The Legs Are the Last to Go
Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way
By Diahann Carroll
(Amistad, Paperback, 9780060763275, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 2009
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It's conventional wisdom that Hollywood has no use for a woman over forty. So it's a good thing that Diahann Carroll—whose winning, sometimes controversial career breached racial barriers—is anything but conventional.
Here she shares her life story with an admirable candidness of someone who has seen and done it all. With wisdom that only aging gracefully can bestow, she talks frankly about her four marriages as well as the other significant relationships in her life, including her courtship with Sidney Poitier; racial politics in Hollywood and on Broadway; and the personal cost, particularly to her family, of being a pioneer. Carroll's storied history, blunt views, and notorious wit will be sure to entertain and inform.
Diahann Carroll is a legendary singer; theatrical, television, and film actress; Tony and Golden Globe Award winner; and Emmy, Oscar, and Grammy nominee. A veteran of the entertainment industry whose pioneering career has inspired many, Diahann made her Broadway stage debut starring in Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's House of Flowers. After seeing her in this production, Richard Rodgers created as a starring vehicle for Carroll the Broadway production No Strings, for which she won the Tony Award. Her recent theatrical appearances have also garnered acclaim, including her role as the "ultimate" Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Widely known as a pioneer, in 1968 she became the first black actress in television history to star in her own series, Julia, for NBC, which soared to the top of the Nielsen ratings and received an Emmy nomination. Other notable roles include the title role in Claudine, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, and Dominique Deveraux in the wildly popular television series Dynasty. She has worked with legends such as Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Judy Garland, Michael Caine, Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra. In no apparent rush to settle down, Carroll most recently appeared on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, for which she was nominated for an Emmy, and in a cabaret show that is currently touring the country, The Life and Times of Diahann Carroll.
“It has heart, without descending into the treacle of sentimentality. It’s upfront, bald-faced heart.”
-Liz Smith, Variety
“[A] radiant autobiography, bubbling over with sincere self-insights.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)