Diahann Carroll, Pioneering Actress on 'Julia' and 'Dynasty,' Dies at 84

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Edie70, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    What did Miller have against Ms. Carroll?
     
  2. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Like many here said, Diahann Carroll was one of the many instances of superb casting on the part of Dynasty. But unlike others in the later Dynasty years who made the role their own (Catherine Oxenberg, Christopher Cazenove, Kate O'Mara) she was Dynasty as soon as she appeared on the very first scene. Her entrance at La Mirage had this "all eyes on me" quality, frankly similar to how Collins/Alexis appeared in the courtroom. But unlike Collins who was blessed with a dynamite back story and plot for the first few years, Carroll was not so lucky.

    While eventually Dominique did become a bore, it certainly wasn't Carroll's fault. She brought unique glamour to the screen, and it is not for nothing that she is associated with the glamour year of the show (and most memorable one for most viewers and Nielsen households alike).
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Nolan didn't specify but seemed to grumble that Diahann's stated desire to become TV's "first black bitch" might have been realized.
     
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  4. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    She was ambushed with this question one time and she shot back that if she were a black man marrying whose women it wouldn’t be a prob.
     
  5. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Not to speak ill of the dead, but Kate O’Mara said that it was Carroll that made her life on the show hell. I have absolutely no clue as to why.
     
  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    She did, although that was much more taboo at the time.

    We mentioned why. Just recently. Thanks for reading.
     
  7. Edie70

    Edie70 Soap Chat Fan

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    Conversations with Diahann Carroll


    She talks Dynasty at 1h16min38s - I'm surprised that she basically calls it a fashion show about nothing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  8. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    The Dominique story had the potential to be a rich, complicating story, but while first season's DYNASTY could have delivered that, season five was certainly not up to the task. Having Dominique instantly become Blake's sidekick was a mistake. I would actually have had Dominique insisting on Tom recognizing her and Blake and Alexis fighting her together (also united temporarily by their grief for Fallon), before eventually Blake accepts that there is family shame and racism in his unwillingness to accept her. And the deathbed recognition would have come later too. But even after the acceptance, had they kept Brady around he could have put a stop to her laying her estate at Blake's feet to use as he pleased. Instead, we got the lame sudden sickness/hospitalization story.

    There were of course other possibilities, such as Dominique taking Amanda under her wing and antagonizing Alexis like that, some European backstory as @Snarky's Ghost mentioned, and what have you, but such was later Dynasty, where better always turned to worse, given enough time.
     
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  9. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    It's weird as I watching Some Like It Hot when I came across this photo in the thread. I was watching with a friend and we had just talked about whether Marylin had really had an affair with JFK. Then low and behold there is a picture of Marylin at the White House not long before she died, watching Diahann Carrol.
     
  10. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    I remember this. I wasn't sure if Nolan was serious or not. I think it was more him playing it up. Making more out of it for entertainment purposes. I think she was just very fussy about what she wore on the show. She more often than not only wanted to wear white. All white, and that's kind of difficult to shoot. Or was at the time I believe.
    He was also a bit snooty about Pamela Sue Martin in an interview, as well as Kate Jackson. Although both those actresses just weren't as natural a fit for Nolan's signature looks. So there's that to consider, but yeah, Nolan could be snooty.

    I just wish someone would do a book about Nolan Miller and especially about his work on DYNASTY which was a pop culture phenomenon and influenced fashion in the 1980s.
     
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  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    He praised Pamela Sue; he said Pamela Bellwood was someone they were glad to see go. Kate Jackson was an infamous bully.
     
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  12. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    She's just being honest -- and she's said it before, that DYNASTY was basically all about wearing pretty clothes and being on a #1 show, then asking the interviewer: "What do you remember about DYNASTY --- I mean the plot of DYNASTY??"
     
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  13. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    That's funny I am nearing the end of binge of season 4 and it really is just all plot. It's the last of any character work. It's all just stuff happening, one thing after another and nobody much processes any of what has just happened. It's just on to the next thing. Fallon's two episode paralysis is an example of this. And that is repeated again in season 5 with Dominique's random coughing fit/hospitalisation. It's like quick! Do something, we're losing them!
     
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  14. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    The actors were all aware of it. John Forsythe gave an interview circa 2000 (maybe one of those Emmy things) where he points out that DALLAS was "the best" of these kinds of shows, and that DYNASTY was "much harder to delineate," and he also points out that you can have great stars and beautiful sets and clothes, but you need stories in order for it to work. He also said in another interview that audiences realize when there's something wrong with the scripts and the stories, and so they lose interest in the project. Forsythe also conceded that the producers "didn't know what they wanted" for the show.

    Joan once said that "a great cynicism" overtook the producers, and an attitude of " 'oh, (the audience) is watching -- who cares what we throw them?' " And Kate O'Mara claims one producer admitted that they "make it up as they go along" (a deadly error for a serial).

    Gordon Thomson insists the actors all realized what was happening with the writing, but they weren't in a position to affect it.

    And PSM said the show went from being a witty satire to a lame celebration of the rich and famous. When Paulsen took over for Season 9, he told the Shapiros that he couldn't figure out what the previous writers we doing, and the Shapiros admitted that they didn't either.

    It makes sense that Diahann was also aware of much of this. The actors were much smarter than their characters.

    I assert that the key problems started with Season 3, although they got worse over time.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  15. Tony

    Tony Soap Chat Active Member

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    Diahanm’s character suffered the same fate as every long lost relative or new character on the show.

    After a compelling entrance, the writers got bored of the character and changed tactics according to audience research which is the same problem that nu Dynasty is facing.

    hence the appearance and then disappearance of Amanda, Ben, Leslie, Kirby, Dana, Mark and Dominique. The only character who fared well and stayed was Adam.

    Diahann was simply fighting for more screen time bitchiness in seasons 6 and 7 which is why she felt threatened by Kate O’Mara who the audience loved.

    and she agreed that Dominique got sappy and that it happens in soaps.
     
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  16. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Dominique was never really a bitch though? What did she ever do that was so dastardly bitchy? All she did was be all mysterious for the first quarter of her story arc. Then that died down and she was Blake's sister and bank roller. She never had that great bitch plot. She never ruined anyone, bought out anyone's company, chased anyone out of Denver, brawled or slapped anyone except maybe Alexis?

    Diahann was a great talent wasted really. She could have been so much more. Although that's not unique to her on the show. Her character was actually more beige than bitch. But like most things on Dynasty you can see the absolute, untapped, raw potential. She should never have been Blake's sister. She should have been Kirby's mother. Hell bent on ruining Alexis for Joseph's suicide and for hurting Kirby. And she should have been an insanely fabulous bitch.

    Also she should never have had anything to do with any of the men they paired her with except maybe the guy from season 9, and possibly a "will they/ wont they?" with Dex.
     
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  17. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    DYNASTY was the story of an outsider trying to fit in when first conceived in season 1. Then it rebooted into the story of the vindictive ex who alternated between wanting to destroy and win back her former husband while fighting a turf war with the current wife. But sometime mid-season 4, it lost plot cohesion. The Fallon and Dominique flash illness you talk about are such cases. I don't think Carroll's assessment is correct for DYNASTY as a whole (people remember Alexis just as much as J.R.) but it was true for the years she was in. And as most actors only read the scenes they were in, you can see how Carroll saw no plot whatsoever when it came to Dominique after Tom acknowledged her as his own child.
     
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  18. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Oh, it was the same with Dominique as all the other new characters: the only story they every really had was the tale of how they managed to arrive in Denver, and, after that, they had nothing else to do, even if they remained on the show for five more years. They might have flirtations and affairs, and get some of that "I hate you!"/"I love you!" dialogue, and sashay around in couture. But once their entry story was finished, so were they, essentially.

    The problem with DYNASTY was that it wasn't a dynasty. DALLAS was a dynasty. But DYNASTY was just a bunch of separate, isolated storylines that didn't seem to really overlap or conjoin together the characters; the story structure was just random, unfocused jealousy plots that didn't make any sense, with all the characters knowing each other equally well, and yet not at all.

    Perfectly cast as it was, there was no sense of family web with DYNASTY.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Tony

    Tony Soap Chat Active Member

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  20. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I don't want to derail the thread discussing DALLAS (which never really excited me, though a more carefully plotted show for its run overall) vs DYNASTY. It did use its past better, but it was too shabby looking to resemble anything like a dynasty in my eyes.

    But the infuriating thing with DYNASTY was that there WAS always this overarching archetypal past which we think of when we think of a dynasty. When the show touched it, as with "A Love Remembered," it was electrifying. But somehow to the writers/producers it was like the third rail. Dominique and Ben, for instance, as well as Caress are such instances in the later years (the three first years were fine plot-wise). Bringing in the siblings and their past stories, from Tom's cheating to Ellen dying to whatever put Caress in prison could have been gold. But the show was looking at that gold and was turning it into pyrite. They would just toss in a reference of two but never really stick with exploring them, looking at the consequences, how the events shaped the characters, etc. Look at how Dominique, even in absentia, was used by Paulson in season 9, a season that decided to bring the past front and center.

    I think at some point around season 4, DYNASTY stopped writing for the season and started writing for the episode. What would make the episode explosive? What would be the big fight, the verbal sparring, the double-crossing, etc. As long as an episode or two had these combustible moments, there was no care to what it did to the character and the arc overall. Not for nothing, but this very technique that gave DYNASTY its ratings rise is also what killed it at its climax, the Moldavia massacre. The music went right along this "all for the dramatic moment" philosophy, and I would argue even the clothes and hair. As soon as Dominique and Alexis had a catfight, Dominique's raison d'etre was fulfilled.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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