Tag: Billy Dee Williams

R.I.P. Diahann Carroll, 84, Groundbreaking Actress and Tony Award Winner

 

Diahann Carroll (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

According to the Los Angeles Times, Diahann Carroll, star of stage and screen who changed the course of television history as the first African American woman to star in a TV series (1968’s ground-breaking sitcom “Julia”) and to win a lead actress Tony Award, has passed away. She was 84.

The Oscar-nominated actress and breast cancer survivor, who also starred in “Paris Blues” with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, primetime soap “Dynasty” and “White Collar,” died of cancer, her daughter Suzanne Kay said Friday.

Born Carol Diahann Johnson in 1935 in the Bronx, Carroll moved to Harlem with her parents at a young age. With their support, she enrolled in dance, singing and modeling classes and attended Music and Art High School with Billy Dee Williams, who would later costar with her in “Dynasty.” By 15, Carroll was modeling for Ebony, and by 18 she got her big singing break after winning the televised talent show “Chance of a Lifetime” in 1954.

Carroll debuted as an actress in 1954’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of “Carmen Jones,” a retelling of the Bizet opera with an all-black cast alongside Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and Pearl Bailey. In 1959, she headlined the musical “Porgy and Bess” with Dandridge, Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr.

Carroll was nominated for a lead-actress Oscar for her turn as a single mother in the 1974 comedy “Claudine” opposite James Earl Jones, and earned a Tony Award in 1962 for Richard Rodgers’ “No Strings.”

In the late 1960s, Carroll was cast in “Julia,” the enormously successful NBC sitcom that featured her as a war-widowed nurse raising a son.

Carroll won a Golden Globe for female TV star and a nomination for best TV show, among other nods. She also earned a lead actress in a comedy Emmy nomination in 1969. Because the show was sponsored by toymaker Mattel, she served as the model for one of the first black Barbie dolls and found her likeness plastered on a variety of merchandise, including lunch boxes and coloring books.

To read more: https://www.latimes.com/obituaries/story/2019-10-04/diahann-carroll-dead

 

“Atlanta” Creator and Star Donald Glover to Play Young Lando Calrissian in Han Solo Movie

Donald Glover Lando Star Wars
Donald Glover (l); Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian (r) REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

Writer/Actor/Rapper Donald Glover (“Atlanta”, “Community”) has landed the coveted role of Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo stand-alone movie starring Alden Ehrenreich.

That film will be set prior to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” like the other upcoming “Star Wars” standalone project, “Rogue One.”

“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” said Phil Lord and Chris Miller. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”

Testing for the role of Calrissian has been going on for months with actors like O’Shea Jackson, Jason Mitchell and “The Get Down”‘s Yahya Abdul-Mateen among those who have tested. Glover was considered the favorite but just to be sure co-directors Lord and Miller decided to do a second round of tests earlier this month with Glover and Mitchell. Glover was eventually tapped for the role.

There was some worry that scheduling Glover’s hit show “Atlanta” and the Han Solo shoot would be an issue, with the series just getting a second season. Since Glover is also the creator and heads the writers’ room for “Atlanta,” there was a worry that his commitment to running the room — which is open now and would of gone into production in March — would cause scheduling conflicts.

Sources now say they will probably bank all the scripts now and move production to next summer to accommodate the Solo shoot.  Production on the untitled Han Solo film is expected to begin in January.

Played originally by Billy Dee Williams in “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” the Lando character is a fan favorite in the “Star Wars” universe and it was unknown, until recently, if he would be making an appearance in any of these standalone movies.

The Han Solo prequel will hit theaters May 25, 2018.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/star-wars-donald-glover-to-play-young-lando-calrissian-in-han-solo-movie-1201897037/