diahann carroll*Diahann Carroll‘s career in the acting biz spans more than five decades–that’s a half-century folks.

Now, at 78, her contemporaries and new-age performers alike are making sure she smells her flowers while she’s still alive.

“I don’t think I realize what the passage of time really means until people talk about things that I did in the ’50s and I wonder ‘Who the hell are they talking about?,'” the actress, singer and Golden Globe-winner said while being honored at a House of Flowers dinner Saturday evening.

Beverly Johnson, Angela Bassett, Regina King and Anika Noni Rose were in attendance to applaud Carroll and fellow honoree Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The dinner, hosted by television producer Tracey Edmonds and film and television producer Debra Martin Chase, was held at Edmonds’ home.

Orchestrated by Chase and deemed “House of Flowers” after Truman Capote’s Broadway play, in which Carroll starred in 1954, the evening affair was held to “celebrate female empowerment and to help open doors for future accomplishments,” said Edmonds.

“Diahann is a legend who’s broken so many barriers and has always represented glamour,” Chase expressed.

“I certainly don’t feel like an icon,” said Carroll in an interview before dinner. “I’ve had long stretches of unemployment. This is not an easy game.” Later in her acceptance speech she said, “I really appreciate knowing that you’ve heard my name and remember it. I don’t even know if I would have been allowed to drive down this street back in the ’50s. Being here has given me new passion.”