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6 Facts About Diahann Carroll's Sexy STAR WARS: HOLIDAY SPECIAL


Diahann Carroll died last week on October 4, 2019. She was 84-years old. Carroll had a legendary career and did amazing things for black people. She was a singer, actress, model, and activist. Carroll was an American actress, singer, model and activist. She was the first black woman to win a Tony award. She was one of the first well-known black actresses in Hollywood. She's also the first black woman in Star Wars. Unfortunately, she appeared in the infamous Star Wars: Holiday Special of 1979. A special so horrible it's only spoken of in whispers at the backlot of Lucasfilm. It's a special so terrible Geroge Lucas wished he could destroy every VHS and DVD with a hammer.

Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't. But whether you know about Diahann's role in the special or not, here are a few mind-blowing facts about her role in the show.

You can watch it below:


1. The Role Almost Went to Cher


Cherilyn Sarkisian, known best by her stage name Cher, was one half of the hugely successful musical duo "Sonny & Cher". She had a wildly popular variety show in the 1970s named The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. It ran for four seasons and ended in 1974. 

It was followed by The Sonny & Cher Show (1976-1977) which was also a big hit but had dwindling ratings. While the first Sonny and Cher show was regularly in the top 25 the new show barely cracked the top 30. 

When the producers were casting the role they reached out to Cher to fill the role of the "Holographic Wow". She agreed to the role, but according to writer Bruce Vilanch, she had to drop out. "It was a CBS show so it was full of Harvey Korman and originally Cher," He said on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast. "But she'd had a little surgery and she couldn't do it. And so Diahann Carroll, who fit into the costume, was in the fantasy sequence."

It's amazing to think what the "I Got You Babe" singer would have done in the Star Wars role.

2. Diahann Carroll's Character Name is Mermeia



In the Holiday Special Chewbacca's father Attichitcuk, known as "Itchy" gets a cassette from Trader Dann (Art Carney). Dann says it's "hard to explain" but "wow" and plugs it in. Itchy watches a virtual reality video of a holographic fantasy woman.

Unless you're a big fan of Wookipedia or the comics you would never know Carroll's character name. The name is never said on the special and it's not listed in the credits. The closest anyone got to saying the character name was on her old official filmography page which listed her role as "Mermeia Holographic Wow". Not very flattering.

The name is a reference to mermaids. According to the producers, the sequence is supposed to suggest the character is underwater with shimmering lights and a flowing costume.

3. Emmy Award-Winning Songwriters Wrote Diahann Carroll's Song


All the songs made for the Star Wars: Holiday Special are done by Ken and Mitzie Welch. They're a husband-and-wife team that was well-known for making songs for variety shows. While the Holiday Special isn't their best work they had more than a dozen Emmy-nominations between them. Ken Welch collected 19 Emmy nominations during his career. All of them were done with his wife Marilyn "Mitzie" Welch. The pair won five Emmy awards in their day.

The Welches were best known for their long-running collaboration with The Carol Burnett Show which ran for seven seasons from 1971-77. But they also wrote and produced material for big stars like Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton, Linda Lavin, Suzanne Somers, The Carpenters, Hal Linden, and Bob Hope. It's surprising that they were able to get talent of this caliber on the show.

4. Diahann Carroll's Lyrics for "This Minute"


When the producers decided to make a Star Wars variety show they pulled in their best people. The pair wrote the song "This Minute" (also known as "This Minute Now") for the show. While the special as a whole is forgettable this song is one of the standout moments in the show. The heartfelt lyrics combined with Carrol's natural heart and emotional singing makes it work. Here are the lyrics for the song:
"This Minute" by Ken and Mitzie Welch
If we could only bend this minute. 
Infinitely extend this minute. 
Then I could live my whole life right now. 
Reality is sweet this minute. 
Can't we repeat and repeat this minute? 
Why can't it always be right now? 
I've parted with yesterday. 
Yesterday's moment is cold. 
All I ask is this moment to hold. 
How can we ever lose this minute? 
From all my life, I choose this minute. 
I will give up the old and the new. 
Sharing with you this minute now. 
If I could just hold my breath and close my eyes and not make a sound. 
Will the universe stop going 'round? 
Still, the universe keeps going 'round and 'round and on and on and on and on and on. 
A minute's almost gone. 
How can we ever, ever lose this minute? 
From all my life, I choose this minute. 
I will never need anything more than living for this minute now. 
This minute now (x8) 

It's a beautiful jewel in the mud sucking everything else from the special down. Considering the special also has the horrible "Life Day" celebration song sung by Carrie Fisher it's a shock anything good came out of it.

5. Diahann Carroll Has the First Sex Scene in Star Wars


Star Wars has had some racy moments. The Princess Leia slave costume Carrie Fisher wore for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi comes to mind. There's also the sexual relationship between Anakin and Padme, but they were married. Nothing is explicit or suggestive because it's a family-friendly series of movies. That is until the Star Wars: Holiday Special.

While there's no nudity her dancing and costume are overtly sexual. The "Wow" tells Itchy he's her "fantasy" and he invites him to "experience" her. Itchy makes sounds and motions that imply an orgasm. The device is known as a "Mind Evaporator" and the special heavily implies that it's a VR sex video. This was no accident.

One of the producers and the co-writer of the song Mitzie Welch said the sequence was intended to be "softcore porn" to get past TV censors. It worked and is still the most sexual the movies or shows have ever gotten. As long as Disney owns Star Wars it's probably as far as it will ever go. It's a surprising moment in Star Wars history.

6. Diahann Carroll Was Cast to Get More Black People


While the original Star Wars is an amazing film it's not very diverse. There are less than 25 black characters in the entire franchise and 95% of them happen after the original trilogy. In the 1970s the movies sparked controversy for their lack of representation. The studio was hoping to fight against the backlash by casting more people of color.

Diahann Carroll was a big name at the time and had her own series of variety shows in 1976 as a summer replacement for The Caroll Burnett Show. So she was no stranger to variety shows, was popular and dark-skinned. Just what they needed. Carroll was contacted by one of the co-producers to join the cast.

The director was frustrated by the casting though. "'Why is Diahann Carol on this?'" David Acomba told the official Star Wars site. "And they said, 'Well, because of the name and the network wants black people.' Also, I think there was some controversy at that point about Star Wars not having black people in it. So I said, 'Well, now what do we do with Diahann Carol?!'"

The wonderful Diahann Carroll is gone, but her legacy lives on. While most have written off the special her lovely voice and presence shined a light in this dark chapter of Star Wars history.


What do you think of Diahann Carroll's performance? Let us know in the comments below!
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