When people speak of the great ladies of television history – those pioneers who did so much either on camera or behind the scenes (or both) to advance women through the decades, and whose work continues to entertain us to this day -- the usual names come immediately to mind: Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Marlo Thomas, Bea Arthur, Valerie Harper. Surely, they all deserve the recognition they continue to receive as trailblazers who paved the way for Roseanne Barr, Candice Bergen, Tina Fey and so many more to come. We simply didn’t see women like the characters they portrayed on television until they stepped up and created them, in tandem with other strong women and forward-thinking men behind the scenes. Oddly, though, a woman who very much belongs on that list rarely seemed to be included: actress and singer Diahann Carroll.
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