Nick Clooney

Inside Media: Moments That Changed Us

February 21, 2009

Guest: Nick Clooney

Veteran journalist Nick Clooney hosted a screening of an installment of the American Life Television series, "Moments That Changed Us," that looked at the life and career of Diahann Carroll, the award-winning actress, singer and humanitarian.

In 1968, Carroll played the title role in the television sitcom "Julia," which was launched amid social and racial turmoil in the country. Clooney reminded the audience "what a seismic shock it was to see a beautiful African-American woman doing a mainstream sitcom" at that time.

"She was the star; she was carrying the show," Clooney said. "No mainstream sitcoms had ever had an African-American solo star" before then.

Clooney described the pressure on Carroll as "quite a load when you’re talking about network television — and particularly in 1968," he said. Carroll faced resentment not only from whites who were angry to see her in a role regularly given to white actors, but also from blacks who said her show did not represent their reality.

Clooney has hosted national TV shows for ABC and American Movie Classics, written a column for The Cincinnati Post and worked as a human rights activist. He is currently the Distinguished Journalist in Residence at the American University School of Communication and the Newseum.

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