Diahann Carroll was interviewed on NPR Friday afternoon to promote her book, The Legs are the Last to Go, and the interviewer reminded me of a famous fact in Barbie history: Carroll’s television show Julia (1968-71) which was the first TV show to star an African American woman who wasn’t a domestic, was the inspiration for a 1968 “Julia” Barbie doll. Carroll played a nurse whose husband had been killed in the Vietnam War, and who was a single parent of a young son. The Barbie shown above is the “Talking Julia” doll, and on the right is a picture of the “Julia” vintage lunchbox. The interview with Carroll was really interesting–she of course still is gorgeous, and it’s hard to believe she’s been around for more than fifty years.
The larger image above is from here, where the depicted doll is for sale! She still talks, although her hair has oxidized to a strange red that most definitely is not original. And, dig that jumpsuit! (I used to have a “Dawn” doll with a similar getup from a few years later, only with turquoise mules instead of the sensible tan ones on “Julia.”)