The actress/singer made her name as a star of musical films and stage shows in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming the first African-American to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical in 1962 for her role in No Strings.

However, Diahann, who also enjoyed a successful career as a recording artist, is no longer able to sing live due to advice from her doctors.

"Unfortunately I've been told to stop performing by my doctors," she tells Britain's Daily Express newspaper.

"I have acid reflux, which is very damaging to the vocal cords. I could spend all day every day and every dime I earn trying to correct it but I've had to accept it's part of my ageing process. It's a pain in the neck.

"I can still sing in the shower but it's not possible for me to perform for 90 minutes on stage any longer. I love singing and I miss it terribly."

Carroll had been due to return to the Broadway stage alongside Denzel Washington in the play Raisin In The Sun last year (14), but pulled out before the production opened citing the rigorous demands of the performance schedule.