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And so my manager and I approached them, and [we had] a meeting. I just loved the opportunity to put this character, Dominique Deveraux, on screen. With the clothes and the hair, it was very clear that we were actually doing this show as a send-up, and I think we did it very well. You once said that playing Norma Desmond in the Canadian production of Sunset Boulevard in the mid-'90s was the most rewarding role of your career. We were all very excited — we knew that it would be the talk of the town. There was at least one episode where you and Joan Collins were fighting, hitting and kicking each other. Of course, we had to fight to make the dialogue overcome the wardrobe [laughs].

That made me angry' Diahann Carroll is, in her own words, vain, superficial and a dedicated follower of fashion who has spent her life coiffed to perfection.

Cited as an inspiration by stars such as Halle Berry and Angela Bassett, she still lands roles today – she recently starred in Grey's Anatomy – and continues to sing (during the photo-shoot her manager sits in the background making arrangements for a Christmas concert).

In her new memoir, The Legs Are the Last to Go, Carroll relates the highs and lows of her career with candour, splicing stories of suffering and success alongside self-deprecating anecdotes and astute observations about the rampant ambition that powered her career, yet blighted many of her relationships.

And so my manager and I approached them, and [we had] a meeting. I just loved the opportunity to put this character, Dominique Deveraux, on screen. However, I have paid the price for taking my life to Canada for almost two years and leaving everything — my family, my marriage. How does the show's filming schedule affect your life in California?

We were all very excited — we knew that it would be the talk of the town. Talk about how you ended up on Dynasty —a world of rich white people with big hair and big shoulder pads. I saw the show and I thought, "Oh, this is absolutely a hoot, I love it." I thought it would be great fun if they thought that I could fit into this. I said, "We have to fight more often." It was funny, and it was also very much what the audience wanted at that time.