In 1986, Diahann Carroll published her memoirs, simply entitled "Diahann!". Published as it was during her Dynasty hey-days, it sported a glamorous cover shot taken by famed celebrity photographer Harry Langdon. But underneath the glamorous cover was a life story that held both depth and courage. Ms. Carroll tells open-heartedly about her ups and downs: her early days as a kid, her life as married (several times over), her long and destructive relationship with married actor Sidney Poitier, her breakdown during Julia, her relationship with an abusive man, her comeback in Dynasty...  She writes about her parents and her daughter, about how she sometimes didn't realize how much her daughter really needed her. There is pain and there is humor, but ultimately the book is about a winner - a woman who will always survive, and who by 1986 finally starts to understand who she really is. It's a very touching and moving story, blessedly free from self-pity and nostalgia, although it sometimes concentrates a little bit too much on her various relationships. It is still highly recommended reading!
  Diahann Carroll her self said in a 1999 interview that she's thinking of writing a new book, but this time she needs a "much larger canvas". About her 1986 book, Diahann!, she said it was the result of vanity of youth:  "At a certain age it's very seductive to talk about relationships, personal and sexual. But I think that time is over." She also stated that her next book must avoid the standard celebrity-memoir chain of "and then I met..."

Diahann!
Written by Diahann Carroll with Ross Firestone
252 pages, 32 pages of photos.
Little, Brown 1986

 

Diahann's second book arrived in the fall of 2008. This time around she openly discusses her life as an "aging star". She once again talks about her childhood and of her mother and father, but now in a far more sensitive way - the chapter about her reconciliation with her father is very moving - and she talks about how she really couldn't relate to her daughter until Suzanne got children of her own. Becoming a grandmother has obvioulsy meant very much to Ms. Carroll! It's a more mature Diahann we meet in The Legs Are The Last To Go, but she haven't lost a bit of her wit and sharp sense of humour. And she is far from shy - she talks about racism in the entertainment industry, her catastrophic marriage to Vic Damone and what she is willing to do to stop her body from showing any signs of aging! ("I've heard people say that getting older is beautiful. I think it is, but inside, not out.") A great and interesting book that reaches far beyond the ordinary Hollywood anecdote kind of memoire. A truly recommended reading!

The Legs Are The Last To Go.
Aging, Acting, Marrying & Other Things I Learned The Hard Way.
Written by Diahann Carroll with Bo Morris.
272 pages, 16 pages of photos.
Also available as an audio book, read by Diahann herself.
Amistad 2008

 

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