By Ashley Davis
Diahann Carroll rose to prominence as a performer when it was rare to see black actors on TV screens. Bonham’s held an auction of the late entertainer’s estate last week in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles—Bonhams recently honored one black entertainer who broke Hollywood racial boundaries during her expansive career.

Diahann Carroll was an actress and singer cast in some of the earliest Hollywood studio films to prominently feature black actors, Bonhams explained.

Highlights of her career included a starring role on "Julia," beginning in 1968. It was the first time a black entertainer starred in a television series as a character other than a domestic worker and it earned Carroll a Golden Globe Award.

She was also the first black actress to win a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Among her other film and television roles was a stint on the iconic 1980s soap opera "Dynasty."

20200315 Bonhams 1This timeless 18-karat white gold, 6.03-carat diamond and cultured pearl ring was the top lot at Bonhams’ Estate of Diahann Carroll auction.
Carroll died of breast cancer last year in Los Angeles at the age of 84.

First diagnosed in 1993, she worked to raise awareness of the disease and was a founding member of the Celebrity Action Council, a volunteer organization serving the Los Angeles Mission’s women’s outreach.

Bonhams facilitated Carroll’s estate sale on March 10, which sold 94 percent by lot and 97 percent by value, for a total of $396,176.

20200315 Bonhams 2Tiffany & Co. 18-karat yellow gold and diamond “Cancer” zodiac pendant, circa 1970
The sale’s highlight was a diamond and cultured pearl “toi et moi” ring, which fetched $56,325, falling within its pre-sale estimate.

Other jewelry highlights were a Tiffany & Co. gold zodiac medallion, circa 1970, which sold for $21,325, well above its $5,000-$7,000 prediction, and a ruby and diamond brooch, estimated to garner between $10,000 and $12,000, that ended up selling for $9,450.

20200315 Bonhams 3This ruby and diamond brooch from the second half of the 19th century fell just shy of its pre-sale estimate low of $10,000.

In total, the sale featured 155 lots of memorabilia items, furniture, personal items, photos, clothing, handbags and jewelry.

“This sale truly surpassed our expectations, which offered a glimpse into her iconic lifestyle,” Emily Waterfall, Bonhams Los Angeles head of jewelry, said in a press release.

“The incredible enthusiasm and excitement with which her collection was received is a testament to the lasting legacy of the beloved Diahann Carroll.”

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