10/13/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT
One of the first black women to star in her own TV series—the acclaimed '68-'71 sitcom Julia—Diahann Carroll found it tricky to be a trailblazer. "The attention and responsibility were so stressful," the actress-singer says. "But I'm enormously proud of that show." And of the rich, eventful life that followed. Married four times and mom to a daughter, Suzanne, 48, she also had a love affair with Sidney Poitier and has kept her career going well past middle-age: Now 73, she received an Emmy nomination last year for her guest role on Grey's Anatomy. With her new memoir, The Legs Are the Last to Go, hitting stores, Carroll looks back at some high points.