While Audra McDonald, who has become the actor with the most performance wins at the Tonys ever, shared a story of meeting Carroll, the first American American actor to ever win a Tony for a lead role. She took piano lessons regularly as a child and first began singing around age 6, as a member of the Tiny Tots choir in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Carroll often starred in stage roles that had always been exclusive to white women. "I'm a NY lady, born and raised", she said, "and [was] exposed to everything this wonderful city had to offer, and my mother enjoyed exposing me to all of it".
She appeared in the Tina Gordon Chism-helmed film Peeples in 2013.
Carroll - who made history as the first African American in a lead role to win a Tony Award for her role in No Strings - will be celebrated posthumously on Saturday with a dedication of her own stage at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
Duvernay, 47, tweeted alongside multiple black-and-white photos of Carroll throughout the years: "Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep". And when she joined Dynasty in March of 1984, as the glamorous, jet-setting Dominique Deveraux, half-sister to Blake Carrington, Carroll became the first black person to star in a primetime soap. More recently, she had a number of guest shots and small roles in TV series, including playing the mother of Isaiah Washington's character, Dr. Preston Burke, on 'Grey's Anatomy'. Then she made her Broadway and bigscreen debuts. She enrolled at NYU to study sociology, but after winning recognition on the TV talent show Chance of a Lifetime, she left school and was booked by Lou Walters (father of Barbara Walters) into the Latin Quarter nightclub for a one-week engagement.
She met Sidney Poitier on that film, thus beginning what she described as a "very turbulent" nine-year romance with him. "Extraordinary life. Thank you, Ms. Carroll". She was a pioneer on so many levels.
In a statement sent to EW, and posted on her Twitter account, fellow pioneering black singer Dionne Warwick wrote that the loss of her dear friend and mentor Carroll "comes as a true hurt to my heart!" "I think it's a wonderful thing to do and to have as a memory, but no". She also appeared in such films as Eve's Bayou (1997) and on stage as Norma Desmond in a musical version of Sunset Blvd. She also famously dated talk show host David Frost for several years.
The actress is survived by Kay, her daughter from her first marriage to record producer Monte Kay.
She was married four times: to record producer Monte Kay from 1956 to 1963 during which time they had a daughter, Suzanne; briefly to Las Vegas boutique owner Fred Glusman in 1973; to Jet magazine managing editor Robert DeLeon from 1975 until his death two years later in a vehicle crash; and to singer Vic Damone from 1987 to 1996.