Sunday, April 4, 2010

Even Prince Watched Dynasty in the 80s. Do You Remember Diahann Carroll on the Show?

Earlier I wrote about the death of John Forsythe. His passing's bringing up some memories.

We older folk remember the silver-haired Forsythe as not only the voice of Charlie, the unseen boss on Charlie's Angels, but also the patriarch Blake Carrington on Dyansty. The picture here shows Forsythe with living legend Diahann Carroll on that nighttime soap, where she played Blake's half-sister, Dominique Deveraux.

She was possibly the first and only fictional black character with money on a nighttime soap during that period (1981 to 1989). In addition, the storyline may have been the first time a television show acknowledged that black people and white people sometimes make babies together, which was kind of edgy back then. TV had learned with the Captain Kirk and Nyota Uhura kiss to avoid the implications of interracial sex whenever possible.

For Carroll, breaking ground was nothing new. Some of us recall watching her on television in childhood. She was one of the first positive black role models on television, playing Julia, a nurse with her own show.

Carroll's still working. She will appear in the upcoming Lifetime movie At Risk, based on a Patricia Cornwell mystery. The movie airs April 10. She's playing the role of Nana. Visit her website.

I also recall Billy Dee Williams on Dynasty. He played the role of Dominique's husband/love interest, Brady Lloyd, a character based on Motown's Berry Gordy. Having starred with Dianna Ross in Lady Sings the Blues and in other movies, including Star Wars, and television shows, Williams was a major black heartthrob back then. Coincidentally, he actually played Berry Gordy in the miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream.

I was prompted to write this post because as I listened to Prince (yes, I do that a lot) on iTunes singing his hit "Kiss," 1985, I heard him sing the lyric "You don't have to watch Dynasty to have an attitude." So, I decided to post the "Kiss" video, and the next thing I knew I was writing a post about Dynasty and Diahann Carroll.

Prince - Kiss

Anthony | MySpace Video

While Dynasty was not quite as popular as Dallas that featured the Ewings with the infamous J.R. as patriarch during the reign of the nighttime soaps, Dynasty still had tons of fans. Apparently even his Royal Purpleness peeped in on the show. Comedians sometimes called the show "Die Nasty!" because it had some outrageously evil characters.


msladydeborah said...

Die Nasty! was the show back in the day. I love a hawt mess as long as I'm not in the middle of it! :-)

I was introduced to John Forsythe on a show called Bachelor Father. He played a PI it was on the air when I was a little girl.

Diahann Carroll is currently working on White Collar. I just watched her given an interview on Wendy Williams. (Yes, I watch WW daily-how you doin?) Carroll is a classy act for sure. She is quite out spoken and has no problem with telling anyone what she thinks.

Can-Can said...

I have a photo sitting next to Billy Dee Williams at the Roxbury Film Festival a few years ago. He was our special guest. I founded the festival and directed it from 1999-2007.
Who could forget Diahann Carroll in Julia? She was also in a movie I really liked with James Earl Jones - Claudine. People complained that she was too "siddity" to play the part at the time but she nailed it.