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Miss Diane Carroll in San Francisco twice now opening night and again this evening I've had the mighty pleasure of watching and hearing this Carol perform of the new Venetian room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. But this is your second trip to town as Carole and in the beginning first time it was what I did because I was here for four five years ago in the same room of the Venetian and if you were here in the city otherwise you know I've never worked in San Francisco in any other room or any other medium. I have done great in television here just like here the family and I'm pronouncing your name Diana's right. You know thank you for the scene. I sure wish this were television but I feel like W.C. Fields when he said about Mae West in a picture once I could see what's good. Tell me the rest. I wish the audience could see you. Thank you but you can tell us the rest. I bet a lot of it is good in the beginning there was I take it the Bronx. I was born in the Bronx in New York City. I understand what a hospital
is not far away from the zoo which I have always found very interesting. Excuse me. I don't know why my mother wound up at Fordham hospital because we lived in Harlem and Fordham hospital is in the Bronx. But I think at that time the hospital that was closest to us was called or is called now Harlem Hospital. And there was something that frightened her as I've heard her tell it about the reputation of a hospital. I was almost born in the taxi category. Yes because she was determined to get out of one Ghetto into another. You talk about your mother a lot you sound like a wise woman. You want to go to good hospitals was there right. She's a very wise woman. She's in a very strong influence in my life. Most of it very positive as in all close. Daughter mother relationship some of it negative. But for the most part I respect her and I think that the highest compliment and a daughter can pay their mother is
that I enjoy her. She was going to it would mean she has been off and on as she decided desires to go because now her. Thank God I can afford that she does not have to learn to read she's not around the strip. She's not she's not here now but she did begin this tour with I say She's very attached to my daughter who is four and a half years old and my nurse does not like to fly so it allows a leeway of time my mother gets on the plane comes has a few days of that while the nurse gets on the train which takes 87 years by the time she arrived my mother has had both of us and she's ready to go back and that's kind of the wishing a lot of psychological juggler. Go back to WC Fields again. Well I have to be. I think most people who does the aggression have to be and I have found that I've become terribly exacting. The more I go on the road though a few years ago I didn't travel as much as I do now and I am a no maker. You know I carry a briefcase. This is all happened to me in the last I
don't know three years and everything has to be written down and taken care of and all of a sudden I find that I'm not just singing. I have a business to run I have it. Kind of an organization or syndicate I think is true working mothers I know lady professors My sister is a lawyer and she has children. I think they do have to be better organized yes people it's really not just actors who are much more demanding of a woman because in the end in addition to all of the things that are involved being the performer and the mother there is a problem and the joy of being just female which involves so much more time than being male. I mean the physical aspect that there is I bet yes it does. And then from that from the emotional point of view the thing that I'm required to do all day is talk to men and be involved with men in a business relationship. And then in the evening my relationship with the man in my life must certainly lose all of the elements of a business relationship
and take on all the qualities of a male female relationship. And for a while I thought I was going to blow my brains out because it was a terribly difficult this which doesn't take place God help you is true. Because you wind up a lonely old lady and I think there's not everybody Davis's book The lonely life. No I haven't. You should make that point. I wish I did she's much more of a lonely old lady. She says that about herself and I think she gives it the reason she didn't make the switch. Yes 5 percent if you are fortunate enough to recognize that you have to make the switch particularly. If you are a kind of woman then I suspect Bette Davis is. And Bette Davis has always been one of my favorites and I think a woman that can perform like that has to have a kind of intelligent kind of a mind that needs to be stimulated also dominated and to find a man who is going to allow that strong personality to operate
in his life and push to dominate his life and find fulfillment. It is impossible because he must dominate in order for a personality like Bette Davis and like me or any woman who works to respect him to respect him and for her to be happy. There is no happiness. If you come in and continue exactly the same thing there's no full foot fulfillment as a woman it is a continuation of a work situation which is in a way fun and to the female I mean really if that's really bad or gratify you know I met her just once and she was for me dabbler and I but I imagine that her standards will be very high and that she would lack the ability to compromise as so many women have to. Yeah she says she doesn't have to. Yes it will be very tough for any man though to measure up to that. Yes it is very tough. But the sad thing is that if you don't
compromise. You're the loser. I'm sure there are many of the areas that make up she's a she says that too because she's been she's the loser Yes but she is definitely on to the book thing I want is a show me that because I respect him. Now you've spoken about your mother and I last glamorous lady I met up with last count a lady I met up with was Gypsy Rose Lee and of course my mother's awfully important to her career to give your mother a stage mother the way that she depicts her mother rose in her book Gypsy. No not at all. My mother is if there ever was anything that was the end. This is of the opposite of a stage mother it was certainly my mother she knew nothing about the theatre and about the nightcap industry buy records and both my parents a kind of the rack us recently a man in New York named Breslin Jimmy Breslin did an article and he began the article made here about opening at the American men he walked into my hotel suite and he started looking
around he said to me where where those he has a reputation of being very brash and supposed to be very disarming and disquieting. And in a way it is and he says to me where the hangers on where are they. Enough weapons right now OK. And I I said who for example he said your mother your father your aunts your uncles your cousins and he then quoted to me that he had recently done an article on a young singer. He walked in the whole family was there. I explained that my parents have always been kind of a novelty to me in that when I decided to have a career they said it's your decision. Fly to the moon are fall flat on your face. It's up to you and they have stuck by that I've been in showbiz for 10 years. They've stuck by them for the entire time they expressed only an interest in Am I happy. They would be very proud of you too terribly I mean that would be impossible not very very proud and they do share it on on a certain level.
They have only curiosity about the kind of peace that it brings me. I mean the business is never interested in the still doesn't interest and their personal happiness is the primary my interest right before it works the city of New York. That's right he works for the board of transportation in the city of Stuart. Still that I fear and will not even think about anything else which I think I want should I love him for you know he's big handsome very well kept men who are. He's very careful about his own self esteem. Unlike the Senate neither He's not running. Yes and No. If we go talk a bit about your career still another glamorous lady and I really don't collect glamorous ladies Oh I love that idea. No not now said Miss Dorothy Dandridge Tell me about old couple years ago is replaying over in Hayward the first picture you are in. But she knew it was Carmen Jones. That is correct. And you played what part of I think the
name is Mert. If that's not Porgy and Bess because somehow they all just run together to me in my head except for the music. Gershwin are you in the episode per day per Billy singing beat out the right is that. I don't think I think that's married. Anyway I was terribly excited because it was the fourth female lead and I remember putting that in a wire to my fourth female lead in common and that's really all I remember about you know where you were in Bess I did said Roger. Yes what perfect plan or for if you don't. And I really I remember I would die do you think I would sing Summer time all that is good and she has the baby and she dies in the storm. Terrific. Yeah because that's about a good guitar and left you know those that are you know might have missed my you know it was that it's a very good part is that I don't happen to remember and she does sing Summertime and it's one of the you know most well-known and it is a song 10 years before and it's a lovely well-known to
you know there's a bit to my mind is the best song in the show to I like it the best it's the this is a subject subjective matter about which people differ Yes there is in the best she was my woman I was in bed with the one I love is Bess. Oh where's my that one thing you need an album of Porgy and Bess haven't you yes and you recorded only better songs or have you gone across the border went across the board little primarily. Yeah I think we left out a lot of Porgy songs that went into things to sing any purpose for in life so yes quite nice. So it can't go away do that right here don't you know as an opera earth and on Mars I think I do to maintain price was she it all I'm asking. You know I don't ask I don't know you mind me. I think I still have that because they went on to Los Angeles and I sat and listened. Yes I remember Mr. Cowan. Yes I think you will for me and I said OK now you've made a
couple of films of Paris a fact that's how I first became conscious of it you know as a fourth female lead the picture that we all know is Paris blue that's great but I want to ask you about first is good bye again. Yes and that was made in Paris. That's correct. I went to Paris to do Paris tombs and while I was there Mr. Anatoliy was doing good by again. And I met him at a party and he asked me if I would do this thing which involved one scene and I said no that would not. And then again we worked across the lot from each other and they came up why not. You know we'll make it convenient for you when there's a third female lead. It was nothing I did one more way. It was an unusual thing. Oh was it. I think we should mention who the first female lead is in that picture was Ingrid Bergman. That's Korean and does it do it. Who's the lady of the three names that just the boyfriend is three Mack confess something to you but I never saw the film I don't know anything about it. They gave
me a page is orange and it's on a page of dialogue and it explained what the woman was I interpreted it as I saw fit and I thought they should. I finished my day's work on Paris Blues. I walked across the lot to the other set they took off my Paris Blues costumes and makeup made me up put on another gown. I talked it over with an atoll for a few moments and we shot it that was it. I have never seen the film. I shouldn't read a review once about in that time even film but the picture implied you had Tony Perkins is girlfriend before Ingrid Bergman got hold of him. That was that was as you as you saw the film as a whole. Writing it in ice so the character had more dimension then I realized I didn't realize that of all time. Well you know the Paris Blues was a phenomenon because besides Dan Carroll and Joanne Woodward pony Newman Sidney Poitier and Louis Armstrong that a soundtrack by do you have it in their care and directed by Martin great money and I hope you forgive me for saying it wasn't the most successful picture in the world on I think a lot of people who'll
forgive you for Martin but he said so to me you know throw it to the party and it was Paul Newman and we all went about how great it was but I said but I still don't know why with a combination like that but the film and it had some very distinguished French actor in it too. Did surge on your already Giani Thank you. I don't know much why the film didn't work. I don't read any of them have an explanation that was suitable to understand you and said too much they're trying to tell too many stories at the same time. All right I would agree with that I would also say which I feel is that I think that there was a lack of familiarity on the part of some of the people that were involved it was a picture about jazz musicians men who had decided to live their lives in Europe. It is a special kind of human being a special breed of human being that takes
his corn and goes away from his base are not aware how flan right which identity good did you like. I didn't care for the Nano but I found that the the men were something that it was very hard to put on paper on canvas. They didn't as I read them and re read the new scripts and never really quite came alive and the actual situations of what their lives are these men never really came alive for me in the script. I think that is essentially what why the motion picture. Because sometimes. A subject matter that is totally foreign to us but the man who is doing it or who is right and it is so familiar with it is so much a part of his life when he puts it on the screen for us to see it. We did just something that is totally new. We did just that whole because his concept was so clear and I feel there was a lack of clarity here when it was written A and that because I think what Newman can portray character I don't know him and no I'm not
talking about the actors I understand their conception right for the role. You know this because actually Jill and she didn't exceptional job I thought you know she did a very home in a very complicated role of a company and she had a character to convey the idea she had two children stashed away. I back United States you never saw how she got involved with this strange man. Who are some really unreal in her life and I believe I thought she gave an incredible from this time. Yes I remembered. There again you began to think that Newman was becoming involved with you know anything he thought and what he learned and yes that was done in a way that it was notation you know he was in the most sympathetic character and now he has no love in that you know that a lot of musicians I don't think I've ever met a musician would agree with me but I admire young man with a horn and I think that does create a successful jazz musician but what do you think I did too while I'm not that close to dead to jazz that I would have that kind Jo Stafford said that it's a good book for people that are writing about music I
respect. Well for any I would have you do because I enjoyed the movie as a movie and that. I know she probably has an inside of the car she said it that big bite her back. I don't know if she knew Matt had a certain fake quality that the book leaves out that there are certain health issues but that may be true now that there's so many companies that you can pull apart like that. I did work on screen and for me it worked. Whereas if we talk about past lives that to say that it did not work if it didn't work for Mr Abbott maybe they were terribly personally responsible but as a movie as it could as they conceived it and did it as a movie I think the movie worked. I believed it and that most was the question of something in the picture that perhaps you're not familiar with the character of Josephine was played by Durst day and Joe started it on the radio was it was a negro girl in a novel and Hollywood at that time wouldn't cast an eager girl at that time.
Well I did that's the question but I'm going to ask. I wonder if that's true I don't know I like to think that will be different now because you can see why it would be make much more credible story of your writing. I think a picture about jazz musicians United States to have an important negro character in it. Yes it would be if it were true in his line and it was based upon and I think Big Spider bangs life. Well this is a question of course that I'm sure you've asked before and you find you're among the younger people. But do you find that being the ego limits you in the role that you get. You've been quite successful I would say as an actress quite apart from race but do you feel there has been a limitation I would say that I've been successful as in this at all. I had very few opportunities to show marines and to try and win.
I feel that color is most certainly a limiting and incredibly limiting faculty is that the roots of good work. There is this young woman in this country whose name is Diana Stan and I went to school with Diana and I suppose I'm a little more involved there than and I think she's one of the most brilliant young actresses. And Jess examining what she's had the opportunity to do is finally along came out in the Pussycat and to be good on Broadway and she happens to be the star. But. If I were not able. To sing it in a way annoys me because it is an area of the court jester which the Negro has been allowed to play centuries. Still it is something where the unable to live like a living very well known town and I'm grateful that I
have the talent. But if I did not have the facility to saying if I didn't have a voice and wanted to depend on what I like to consider quality which I would like to develop I think in the direction of comedienne and. An actress I don't know where I would go when your answers are comparable to what Miss Lena Horne gave you. We destroyed Evan a couple years ago. I had hoped there was a difference because she has a very legitimate beef and that her role could have all been clipped and work clipped in some southern cities for the old MGM films. I have heard that they were not integrated into the picture so they could be deleted. So she says she had no opportunity as an actress even though she's getting parts and pictures. If you get such a role written that way I'm going to amount to very much. Yes and I want to sound hopeful by saying that I think it's changed a great deal since when Leno was doing films. Why do you think he is the only person I can think of. Misty does not sing I've
never heard a thing outside as she's been able to be successful as a dramatic actress she's also. I've probably twice as gifted as 95 percent of the actresses working today I see incredible and credibly good in gaining me to because of the color of their skin. A Yes and No. Gone are the days Raisin in the sun. She made one film the balcony which was a non yes racial paré genie. Yes yes and it made me think that there could be many others and right now they do in one sense just got interracial production of summer and smoke all day. Quite a challenge with a young doctor being played by a negro and I hear you have a production here where Joyce Bryant making a nightly Joy Spring disappearing in this production downtown and yes with Florence Henderson I missed the light opera. Right right. Yes Ino I haven't seen this particular show. And she plays the part up to me. Yes the that was Linda Darnell before your time and in your time who was a girl Rita Moreno was a PITA.
Yeah thanks. Barbara Luna no freedom or you know you need a very dark a dark good looking darker. Yes yes but. Only just bright is black and I don't think it's having been played by black girl before and I'd like to see you a moment ago I'm too. Now I missed house of flowers you played a girl called If I can't pronounce it I can spill it on telly. Because your daughter's name is hot tonight. So I take that role meant something to you. There you look kind of role was that all the time they was a little virgin from the Hiltons. She was Haitian and she was brought into the city by a madam and the madam felt that it was her time to let say Poor little wine back into the earth and in so doing she was going to create a lovely cultivated young woman and marry her into a good family and then she would feel that she had done something fine in her
lifetime. She found this Carol but the thing about this scout was that she was really quite fiery and. Found Love and ran away and married a wife from him. And that really is kind of a hassle to leave. Yes it was the lead it was the first important thing I ever did. I was 18 years old and. I left says he and why. Where was I going why you are and why you write and I went almost immediately to the album they had around 30 second Street frightened to death. It was the beginning of your stage cred know what I don't know about no strings but have there been other parts in between on Broadway no real way you know it's a play about lack of opportunity. Oh absolutely not. There is no strength was just a few years ago. That's right and they were. Maybe
two or three part two parts in that time that I might have played and I didn't get one of them was a paid Barry Sullivan date and there was another guy who was really much more right for it than I was and the other one was the part the Diana that in Raisin in the sun I would love to have done that Diana really was right for who played what part was that I was on the 70s I said I think you could have played that yes that the snotty sister right with complexity right there right. Well the. It's there and then no strings are odd to quote my fellow seeker the great dark mist and I go BAM had a gimmick was a very special kind of a part was that written for you. Yes it lies I say well I don't know why I don't feel that it had so much of a gimmick. The end was the gimmick it was the letdown
really the goal being a negro girl who decided to go to Europe in order to model what she thought she could do much more successfully in yours right in Paris that was with apparently a prize novelist. Right but it's true. You know Joanna her now is French Canadian but who's Negro and very beautiful has been a Canadian film she's living in Paris as a model and I guess because she is she might run in. Yes she does that but she also acts like she's not dark. No not very anxious not because I find the Europeans equally as pages about color as the American people. We really must face that we cannot scream that I mean I said that in the beginning of no strings it is if it is as much alone I have a darker all my color because there has not been one tall so when it does happen then I believe it has not be candidly Nancy will fit very beautiful quite dark skin. Could it happen with her. Anybody as beautiful as Nancy will find where they play in Paris a place on the moon.
My dear Sarah they have been so many dark and beautiful women to go to Paris. And die there. I could name so many who wanted to be models and actresses. The illusion that Paris is the great just isn't so I mean they prejudice the situation is not as it is in this country but I don't find the act I don't see any number to be smug and self-righteous I'm with you I mean I don't see any black actors or actresses and coming out of the films or there will be I them and write and write for and the only thing is that Mary Mary and her pretty smart cookie I don't usually like it was you once said something in life is always a mitigating circumstance meaning that by accident sometimes things and things are never under percent one way. Can you remember that phrase I say not sheen you forwarded on the question of love much more optimistic in a way we've been talking and there's a proper quotation. Love is so absolutely necessary to life like the water we drink and the bread we hear and now the fact that was given.
I saw that in some promotional material about you maybe think this was a significant statement for you. I think they are to call that part of the article I was referring to the relationship. With. Harry and how their understanding has to have pained me so well during the beginning and a very trying time in my career I see I see his love as a sustaining force you to me anyone kind between man and woman now I think well that take it pray tell is that we're related somehow. I think he's right. No you're done it. Yes but your joke about playing My Fair Lady is meant to be satirical and both times I've tried it. I don't the audience have got it. I agree the first time you pointed it out I think it's because they're too polite to get it I think they did. Yeah a little. Some countries about what they do really get it. I think that I think some of them get it and to move them down but nevertheless I prefer to make that statement because I could take it out you know and I'm
sure it to make these statements funny then it's fine. And for those who do get it and those who are curious about what the heck does she mean it's worth the 3 minutes I think we should all be reminded and embarrassed from time to time. There's no harm while I'm laughing at it too because there is yes. Yes I agree it is necessary that you seen a film called Odds Against Tomorrow thought just the other day I hadn't for days. Yes and may Barnes with magnificent women plays a small part in it yes. It strikes me the picture was highly immoral because it was about conflicts between Robert Ryan Bergdahl Fontenay but nobody ever said anything about the crime being immoral what was immoral was the hostility and hatred of the two men and they destroyed each other. But it didn't bother anybody they're going to hold up a bank that was assumed that was a fine occupation if you like a very peculiar film to me for that reason that I found other things peculiar that I did not know that I am now I felt that it was that kind of an obvious
statement that what they were doing was totally MRO and it had been said so many times before that men don't go out and rob banks and shoot people but they are more interesting in Marl things in the film was that they the color pages could make and destroy each other. I feel that the devastation was so obvious and then the choir sang and I think well the only restating. But the Belafonte was sympathetic and Robert Ryan was completely unsympathetic. There I can yes now they're angry at you. I think he's too black and white if you want to be any other way around the stereotype is turned upside down. And Ryan the magnificent actor he took that he would be put across the oh he list really. Yes I I enjoyed his performance in the language but the Southern villain Yeah with a vengeance. He's the most charming man. He meant that you know I've seen him play Shakespearean same play Coriolanus and he certainly has That's which is tough. Only Olivier zio is the only other active ever seen Kerry Coriolanus
so is an impressive actor and does better on the stage I think that a picture that. I find so few people really know what he means. You're in for a pleasure. He comes into town trying to get through and I shout now I've seen the earlier show twice and I wonder do you tone it down. You give the same whiz bang show the midnight show here through mine I never did the show does vary according to whether it's really are made it varies according to my energy according to what's going on with me personally. Sure. And. Each show I go out to to as the expression goes knock them dead but if I can't I can't I don't find an audience who's not coming with me and you have to walk with me a little bit of the way and if I find that I'm not getting a rope that's walking with me I will ease out. How do you mean by that I mean. It's a very a highly
concentrated the performance a great deal of work goes into each little kind of in yet and if I find that I'm not getting across totally I will slow down just saying quietly. Maybe even go back to piano and sing and sing. You don't because you cut songs I mean I mean taken had to change the songs. We have brought into the new arrangements different from the first night yes I know so that we will have a little variation there kind of for ourselves a comedian I think to entertain himself might change that completely full of doors and I think it's probably to keep herself interested yes. What I had you know in little things in conversation the 16 year old boy anything tonight and I suffer because I don't think I've been on the road with his. Three months have a new uniform or something. And it's also relates to the audience it drags them up on the stage. Yes which is good. Yes sure to yes. It's called basic communication. Ah you should know this show began where you say on the road this is
you. Well this show me any actually at the plaza in the fall and winter just last March we're in July now you know yes much so you know he's not. And you've been spending two three weeks in the city. Just about he went home for a little while to break it up and then I still think you play any southern cities in a segregated city you know I do not and I will not no I don't as obviously you could try Nikon's No I don't think I could play night because I don't think I could stand it. You get the job you would be. I wouldn't if I wanted to it was because in the end the people of my being so accessible to me to the audience you know my cup I couldn't bare because they've proven over and over and over what kind of animals they are and I don't think I can stand it and I don't want to go to Germany because I'm a Jew for that reason still I must and I think that when I was a child we were driving down south to visit my
grandparents and when we left Washington my mother began to explain to me now dropping only into an area of the country. And I want you to understand that all adults are not as you have come to know them. Some of them behave like wild animals children some of them and they will say things to you that be Hercule and someone it's awful. I was very frightened the first time in my life that I ever went to Germany and the plane landed and the exact same sensation as the plane landed that I had when my mother was explained to me on a chair and the airplane then very uncomfortable very very last minute glasses. Sidney Poitier last year I represented our government right there lot of beautiful things he did and he got some questions that were not really questioned in the erotic accusations and really when he was first rate terribly good and that this is an excellent selection. Theres a word a very shrewd of our government very very shrewd beneath you know the great charm. Yes so not only that he is a black American but that he
is as equipped as he is to be such a humanitarian. This man that he could encompass the accusation and smart enough to write a good answer that passed and didn't defend them but really let them know that he was not as stupid as some of these writers indicated you know its beautiful you were you there. No I got a little bit earlier you know really. You know the role of a cultural anthropologist may wonder how you manage your daughter you take her with you everywhere you go. When her school schedule will print she's in school and already she is she's going to school since she was three years old because she's an only child and I travel primarily when her schedule and she's out of school in the summer. We go home and you're going to your country in tears about being a mother. Yes it's your job one thing my sister use that word. Yes it's my most important job I have two jobs but that's my most important you have wrote a charming story opening night you didn't know tonight about how you left your hearts have to go because you were on
Diahann Carroll at the Fairmont / interviewed by Herbert Feinstein
Feinstein interviews
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Dr. Feinstein talks with the star of stage, screen, supper clubs and television about the problems of being a black actress in Hollywood films. Diahann Carroll discusses her relationship with her parents, her history, and her career. Carroll was the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker.
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Race and Ethnicity
Carroll, Diahann; Feinstein, Herbert; Actresses -- Autobiography; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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Chicago: “Diahann Carroll at the Fairmont / interviewed by Herbert Feinstein; Feinstein interviews,” 1965-07-13, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 9, 2020,
MLA: “Diahann Carroll at the Fairmont / interviewed by Herbert Feinstein; Feinstein interviews.” 1965-07-13. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 9, 2020. <>.
APA: Diahann Carroll at the Fairmont / interviewed by Herbert Feinstein; Feinstein interviews. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from