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Diahann Carroll made mention of an actor during Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards with whom many viewers might not be familiar.
Carroll and Kerry Washington presented the award for best supporting actor during the ceremony (which went to Boardwalk Empire‘s Bobby Cannavale), during which Washington introduced Carroll as the first African-American — male or female — to be nominated for an Emmy ever.
“It’s been such a long time since I’ve been standing in this place I don’t know what to do,” Carroll said during her remarks onstage. “But the men are much more beautiful than when I was doing television. I don’t know where you came from, but I’m very happy to see you. After all my leading man was Lloyd Nolan, and those of you who know what that means — don’t repeat to anyone.”
Nolan co-starred with Carroll in the groundbreaking series Julia, which ran from 1968-71 on NBC. It’s been praised for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African-American in a nonstereotypical role.
In the series, Carroll played a widowed single mother who was a nurse in a doctor’s office; Nolan played the doctor.
So who was he?
During his career, Nolan was a contract player at both Paramount and 20th Century Fox. Among his credits were starring as the title character in the Michael Shayne film series.
He also starred opposite such actresses as Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday and opposite Dorothy McGuire in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. His credits also include Peyton Place.
He also won a 1955 Emmy for his portrayal of the crazed Philip Queeg in a TV adaptation of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.
Later in his career, he appeared in commercials for Polident.
In 1985, Nolan died of lung cancer at age 83.
“The actor who was generally credited with ‘A’ performances in a decade-long series of ‘B’ films became so good, in fact, that he permitted himself the luxury of turning down work, a privilege that ordinarily falls to far better known stars,” the Los Angeles Times wrote in its obituary for Nolan.
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