It's safe to say that had Diana Sands lived past the age of 39, she would
have been regarded as one of the great actresses of this country.
She had risen to fame in Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun'
as the impetous and passionate Beneatha Younger, later
reprising the role in the motion picture version to great acclaim.
Ms.Sands went on to be a groundbreaking African American presence
on the stage and in film, even doing Shakespeare and in one instance,
being brilliant enough to co-star with Alan Alda in
"The Owl and The Pussycat" in a role that was originally written for a white actress.
Each role she appeared in carried heft, charm, comedy and soul.
She even managed to posthumously have an effect on the blaxploitation
movement in Hollywood, appearing in 'Willie Dynamite' and
'Honeybaby, Honeybaby'. And she was even chosen to play
alongside James Earl Jones in 'Claudine' but due to the cancer that would lead to her death, she asked that the role be given to Diahann Carroll.
Diana Sands was indeed a woman -and an actress- beyond comparison.
Diana Sands with Richard Crenna in 'Doctor's Wives' (1971)
Diana Sands in 'A Raisin in The Sun'(1961)