Diana Sands (August 22, 1934 – September 21, 1973) was an American dramatic actress, perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Beneatha Younger, the sister of Sidney Poitier's character in the original stage and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1961). She also appeared in a number of dramatic television series in the sixties and seventies such as I Spy, as Davala Unawa in the 1967 The Fugitive episode "Dossier on a Diplomat", Dr. Harrison in the Outer Limits episode "The Mice", and Julia.
A member of the Actors Studio, Sands' performance in the Studio's 1964 production of James Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie was a highlight of that show, and one which would be sorely missed during its subsequent London engagement when Sands had already committed to co-starring with Alan Alda in the original Broadway production of The Owl and the Pussycat (1964) for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Sands was culled eight years later to provide a track for the Original New York Cast album of Free to Be... You and Me. Unfortunately, she had died by the time the ABC Afterschool Special had begun production and her previously recorded vocal track was not selected for inclusion.
In 1970, Diana Sands co-starred in the Norman Jewison produced film, The Landlord, directed by Hal Ashby and starring Beau Bridges, Lee Grant, Susan Anspach, Robert Klein, Trish Van Devere, Hector Elizondo, Lou Gossett Jr., and Pearl Bailey.
In his memoirs, Bob Dylan tells of meeting Ms. Sands at a party and states that she was, "an electrifying actress who I might have been secretly in love with..."
She was set to star in the film Claudine (1974) with James Earl Jones, however, she was too ill to accept the role and it went to her friend Diahann Carroll. She was twice nominated for a Tony Award, and twice nominated for an Emmy Award as well.
She died of leiomyosarcoma at aged 39.
Famous quotes containing the words sands and/or diana:
“Perchance the time will come when we shall not be content to go back and forth upon a raft to some huge Homeric or Shakespearean Indiaman that lies upon the reef, but build a bark out of that wreck and others that are buried in the sands of this desolate island, and such new timber as may be required, in which to sail away to whole new worlds of light and life, where our friends are.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“The 19-year-old Diana ... decided to make her career that of wife. Today that can be a very, very iffy line of work.... And what sometimes happens to the women who pursue it is the best argument imaginable for teaching girls that they should always be able to take care of themselves.”
—Anna Quindlen (b. 1952)