by Chris Witherspoon
Diahann Carroll is back on TV, guest-starring on USA’s hit drama White Collar.
The legendary actress/singer appears in a recurring role on the series as June Ellington, an elderly woman with a flair for elegant fashion and a love for music. She stars alongside Matt Bomber and Neal Caffrey on the show about a white collar criminal turned hero, which is now in it’s fourth season.
Carroll has had a successful TV and film career spanning nearly six decades, yet she revealed during an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon that she still gets nervous before delivering her lines on the set of White Collar.
“Absolutely I get nervous,” Carroll said. “And when you don’t get nervous, you’re in trouble.”
In 1968 Carroll became first African-American woman to star in a weekly television series on a major TV network. She won an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for Julia, which lasted three seasons on NBC.
Carroll undeniably blazed a trail for other black women to appear in major TV and film roles. However she says she never imagined that in her lifetime a black woman, like Oprah Winfrey, would be able to start her own television network.
“I didn’t think anyone was going to come along and own their own network that wasn’t a white male,” Carroll confessed. “As I watched Oprah in the beginning to see where she was going with this enormous talent that she had, I thought ‘she’s very aggressive and she just might do it.’ Oprah is a genius at what she does.”
Carroll returned to television in 1984 on ABC’s prime-time soap opera Dynasty, as the villainous millionaire Dominique Deveraux.
Last year rumors surfaced that there could possibly be a Dynasty reunion in the works, inspired from the success of TNT’s Dallas reboot.
The Claudine star says she would love to reprise her role on Dynasty if the series were to be rebooted.
“Yes. If it’s still Dominique Deveroux,” she said. “I love that character, she was wonderful.”
She also believes that today an all-black cast of Dynasty would be a big hit.
“Sure it would be possible. Do you know how many rich black people there are? Why not? I think it would be great fun.”
Fans of Carroll can catch her episode of White Collar at 10/9c on USA.