Many will remember Marc Copage as the chubby-cheeked son of Diahann Carroll in the ‘60s series “Julia.” Now at 56, Copage has taken a different path on his professional career.
He was 5-year-old when his father, John Copage, took him for the audition call for “Julia.” He won the role of Corey to 60 other kids and went on to play the role for the three seasons of the controversial show.
At the time, his parents had separated, and Diahann Carroll was the closest he had to a maternal mother, as he confessed to People in a rare interview in 1991. But after the cancellation of the show, Marc struggled to book more acting jobs, despite the insistence of his manager-father.
He ended up studying music at Santa Monica College, and at 23, he started a short-lived career on theater under the name Marcus Dey. But the offers were few. “I was costar of a hit TV series at one time, and then I was an extra with things blowing up around me,” he said.
Marc went on to work as a waiter and other conventional jobs, before becoming a receptionist at the L.A Dance Academy, where he started getting dance lessons too.
A few years later, he returned to school to study jazz improvisation and to become a jazz musician. He told JET magazine in 2014 that he was playing piano and singing with a jazz combo. He also kept on taking and teaching dancing lessons.
Old school fans of the star who discovered this part of his life, have created a Facebook page to pitch the idea of Copage being featured on “Dancin with the Stars.” However, the 56-yeard-old doesn’t seem to be interested in the idea.
When asked if he keeps in touch with Carroll, Marc said no, but explained that sometimes award shows or some other organizations would contact him to surprise the actress in special events. But he appreciates his time shared with the actress and believes he learned a lot from her back then:
“I suppose through osmosis I must have learned quite a bit, just from working with her on a daily basis. When I became much older, I could really appreciate her talent and the legend that she is.”
Copage confessed that he was working on writing his autobiography, even though four years later there’s no word about one. Maybe is still on the works.
As for “Julia” and the role the series had in television, opinions have been mixed. Back in the day, the series received several critics for its plot. It followed Julia, a widow whose husband died in Vietnam and that was raising her child alone while working as a nurse.
For many people, the series failed to depict the cruel reality of the black community and its struggles. For others, it helped to break the mold that existed on TV at the time of African Americans acting only on secondary roles as servants.
Diahann Carroll was aware of the flaws of the show back then, as she told TV Guide in 1968, “At the moment, we are presenting the white Negro. And he has very little Negro-ness.”
“For the most part, looking back, realizing what we were trying to do at that time, what we were given, the parameters, I feel proud of it,” Carroll said in her National Leadership Project oral history interview. “It made a difference. It was the beginning of a new kind of approach.”