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Carol Channing

Carol Channing

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 31, 1921 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA Profession: actor, singer, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dubbed The First Lady of Musical Comedy, Carol Channing spent over five decades on the Broadway stage and was forever linked with signature leading roles in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Hello, Dolly!" The flamboyant peroxide blonde with the fire engine red lipstick and ever-present smile earned multiple Tony Awards for her extended stage runs in those Broadway blockbusters, as well as recognition for musicals "Vamp," "Showgirl" and "Lorelei." But Channing became a recognized pop culture icon far from New York theater circles, bringing her larger-than-life personality to primetime as the star of variety specials and with her Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated starring turn in the musical film "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967). With the exception of that stroke of pitch perfect casting and a brilliant performance, Channing's talent generally did not translate successfully to the big screen. No matter, as audiences were most captivated by the "Channing" persona, which they were able to enjoy with her many appearances on cheeky celebrity panel game shows, variety specials and awards shows. While Channing's highly recognizable voice was a favorite of impressionists, and female impersonators latched onto...

Dubbed The First Lady of Musical Comedy, Carol Channing spent over five decades on the Broadway stage and was forever linked with signature leading roles in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Hello, Dolly!" The flamboyant peroxide blonde with the fire engine red lipstick and ever-present smile earned multiple Tony Awards for her extended stage runs in those Broadway blockbusters, as well as recognition for musicals "Vamp," "Showgirl" and "Lorelei." But Channing became a recognized pop culture icon far from New York theater circles, bringing her larger-than-life personality to primetime as the star of variety specials and with her Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated starring turn in the musical film "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967). With the exception of that stroke of pitch perfect casting and a brilliant performance, Channing's talent generally did not translate successfully to the big screen. No matter, as audiences were most captivated by the "Channing" persona, which they were able to enjoy with her many appearances on cheeky celebrity panel game shows, variety specials and awards shows. While Channing's highly recognizable voice was a favorite of impressionists, and female impersonators latched onto her thick-lashed caricature of a Broadway diva, the singer, dancer, and comedienne performed throughout her eighties, continually criss-crossing the country in musical comedy revues, one-woman shows, and endless revivals of her best loved characters, Dolly and Lorelei.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Broadway: The Golden Age (2004) Herself
4.
 Thumbelina (1994) Voice Of Miss Fieldmouse
5.
 Happily Ever After (1993) Voice Of Muddy
6.
 Wisecracks (1991) Herself (Archival Footage)
8.
 Shinbone Alley (1971) [Voice of] Mehitabel
9.
 Skidoo (1968) Flo Banks
10.
 Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) Muzzy Van Hossmere
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1948:
Broadway debut in the revue "Lend An Ear", directed by Gower Champion
1949:
Establishing performance as star in musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
1949:
Film acting debut in "Paid in Full"
1950:
TV debut on "Prudential Family Playhouse"
1955:
Starred on TV in "Svengali and the Blonde" with Ethel Barrymore
1956:
Played second female lead (to star Ginger Rogers) in the feature comedy "The First Traveling Saleslady"; played love interest of Clint Eastwood
1964:
Appeared on Broadway in signature role of Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!", directed by Gower Champion
1966:
First TV special as headliner, "An Evening With Carol Channing" (CBS)
1967:
Earned Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her work in "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
1967:
Starred in in ABC special, "Carol Channing and 101 Men"
1968:
Starred in feature "Skidoo"
1969:
Teamed with another Dolly for "Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway" (ABC)
1969:
Headlined ABC special "Carol Channing Proudly Presents the Seven Deadly Sins"
1971:
Debut with animated voice work, "Shinbone Alley"
1982:
Launched revival tour of "Hello, Dolly!"
1985:
Portrayed White Queen in CBS miniseries, "Alice in Wonderland"
1985:
Toured with Mary Martin in stage play "Legends"
1990:
Provided character voice for animated feature "Happily Ever After"
1992:
Voiced Granny Frump in the animated "The Addams Family" (ABC)
:
Promoted her "Broadway Collection" jewelry, sold on home shopping networks
1993:
Was Grand Marshall (along with songwriter Jerry Herman) on the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade
:
Launched another tour of "Hello, Dolly!"; passed 4,500 performance milestone during the tour and its Broadway run
1996:
In November, missed first performances in over 35 years when hospitalized with a virus in Kalamazoo, MI
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lowell High School: San Francisco , California -
Bennington College: Bennington , Vermont -
Bennington College: Bennington , Vermont -
Commodore Sloat Elementary School: San Francisco , California -

Notes

Channing was named on President Richard M. Nixon's "Enemies List" in 1972. It was suggested this was because of her association with President Lyndon B. Johnson, an unabashed fan.

Channing generally doesn't miss performances. And she once performed the entire second half of "Hello, Dolly!" with an untreated broken arm. In November 1996, however, after nearly 5,000 performances in "Hello, Dolly!", she was forced by illness to miss five performances in Kalamazoo, MI, due to dizziness. Doctors attributed her symptoms to a virus.

Channing has been known to bring her own food to restaurants, keeping to a strict, self-devised diet.

The auditorium at Lowell High School in San Francisco is named for one of its most famous alumna, Channing.

Sometimes rumored to be bald underneath her signature blonde wig, Channing, in fact, has a healthy head of greyish-brown hair, as reported in USA Today, July 12, 1994.

"We don't have Hamlet or Lady Macbeth. Dolly is our classic." --Channing commenting on her enduring signature role in "Hello, Dolly!" in TheaterWeek, October 23, 1995.

"It's happiness. What am I supposed to save myself for? This is pleasure. I'm using every faculty my brain and body can give me, to the hilt--everything I've got that is strong and healthy. Now, what on earth is better than that? That's magic!" --Channing on why she continues to work so hard at age 74, in Vanity Fair, October, 1995.

"Performing is like oxygen to her." --Comment about Channing by longtime friend, playwright Jean Kerr, in TheaterWeek, October 23, 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Theodore Naidish. Novelist. Divorced.
husband:
Al Carlson. Football player. Divorced in September 1956.
husband:
Charles Lowe. Manager. Born on December 24, 1911; married on September 5, 1956; suffered debilitating stroke in December 1997; Channing reportedly separated from Lowe and went to live with her son; she filed for divorce in May 1998; died on September 2, 1999 at age 87.
companion:
Harry Kullijian. Co-owner of Mervyn's department store. Channing's childhood sweetheart who sought her out after reading about himself in her memoirs; engaged as of March 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Channing. Christian Science lecturer, newspaper editor.
mother:
Adelaide Channing.
son:
Channing George Lowe. Political cartoonist.

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