Synopsis of TV Show
As the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960’s changed race relations in the United States, these changes also began to filter down to popular entertainment as African-Americans found roles of greater prominence in movies and on television. One of the finest television examples was Julia, a classic sitcom that allowed talented performers like Diahann Carroll and Paul Winfield to take their careers to impressive new heights.
Julia brought stage and screen star Carroll into the world of television as the show’s title character. Julia Baker was a working woman whose husband died in the Vietnam War. After his passing, she moved to Los Angeles with her young son Corey and found work as a nurse in the clinic of Astrospace Industries. While adjusting to the demands of her stern-but-fair boss Dr. Chegley, she made friends with fellow nurse Hannah Yarby and found a love interest in Winfield’s character, Paul Cameron (who would later be replaced in her life by widower Steve Bruce, played by Fred Williamson). Meanwhile, Corey palled around with his new neighbor, Earl J. Waggedorn.
The events in Julia’s personal and professional lives formed the backbone of the series’ stories. This sounds simple enough, but the fact that Julia was an African-American added a novel twist to these otherwise normal sitcom situations. The show won praise from critics for portraying an African-American female character who worked as a professional (instead of the usual servant or maid character) and also for its positive portrayal of working relationships and friendships between Caucasians and African-Americans. The show was also given high marks for its progressive portrayal of a single mother who could balance a career with the demands of raising a child.
The fact that Julia indirectly dealt with so many timely social issues made network executives nervous about the show’s prospects, but these worries were proven to be unfounded when Julia became an instant hit. Audiences responded strongly to Carroll’s natural star power, and Julia’s relationship with her precocious son Corey endeared the show to television viewers near and far. Carroll also won a Golden Globe Award in 1969 for her work on the show. This instant success all but guaranteed the show a successful run, and it continued to do well until it finally went off the air in 1971.
Since that time, there have been no attempts to revive Julia. Just the same, several of its stars moved on to great success on both the big and little screens. For instance, Paul Winfield gave acclaimed performances in films like Sounder, and Fred Williamson became a cult hero through roles in ‘blaxploitation’ epics like Black Caesar. Most notably, Diahann Carroll continued to find favor on stage and television as well as films. Later notable television roles for Carroll included the character of Dominique Devereux on Dynasty and a recurring role on the sitcom A Different World. The continued success of these gifted performers proves that Julia opened the door for a wealth of impressive talent.
Release History of Prime Time Show9/17/68 - 5/25/71 NBC
TV Sub Categoriescomedy
Television Studio20th Century Fox Television
TV CastJulia Baker Diahann Carroll
Dr. Morton Chegley (1968-71) Lloyd Nolan
Corey Baker Marc Copage
Earl J. Waggedorn Michael Link
Marie Waggedorn Betty Beaird
Len Waggedorn Hank Brandt
Sol Cooper (1968-71) Ned Glass
Roberta (1970-71) Janear Hines
Kim Bruce (1970-71) Stephanie James
Carol Deering (1968-69) Allison Mills
Eddie Edson Eddie Quillan
Richard (1970-71) Richard Steele
Hannah Yarby (1968-71) Lurene Tuttle
Melba Chegley (1968-71) Mary Wickes
Steve Bruce (1970-71) Fred Williamson
Paul Cameron (1968-70) Paul Winfield