Filmmaker Tyler Perry delighted a star-studded crowd of A-list celebrities and politicians Saturday when he dedicated a new soundstage at his sprawling Atlanta studio to actress Diahann Carroll during a gala ceremony at the complex.
Perry paid tribute to the groundbreaking African American actress, one day after the announcement of her death. Carroll, who made TV history as the first black actress to star in a prime time series as a career woman rather than a domestic worker in “Julia,” died at age 84 following a long bout with cancer, said her daughter Suzanne Kay.
Perry had already planned to honor Carroll with the soundstage, one of several dedicated to pioneering African American entertainers during the weekend celebration.
But while the dedication of stages to Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Sidney Poitier were cheered by the largely VIP crowd, the tribute to Carroll was a clear highlight.
“We are honored to have shared this planet with Diahann Carroll,” Perry said on a stage in front of the chocolate-brown structure. As the cover was removed, unveiling the name of the stage, the gathering cheered robustly as fireworks marked the moment.
Said Perry, “Let her hear you up in heaven” as clips from “Julia,” “Dynasty,” the film “Claudine,” where she played a welfare mother, and other moments from her career played on a screen.
The salute continued before guests were treated to dinner on the Oprah Winfrey soundstage and Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack to “Claudine” was played.
Other performers honored with soundstages who were in attendance included Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg and Spike Lee.
The crowd included luminaries from the entertainment and political world, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tariji P. Henson, Samuel L. Jackson, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Tiffany Haddish and Blair Underwood.