Carol Channing
American actress, singer and musical comedy performer
Carol Channing
Carol Elaine Channing is an American singer, actress, and comedienne. She is the recipient of three Tony Awards (including one for lifetime achievement), a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. Channing is best remembered for originating, on Broadway, the musical-comedy roles of bombshell Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and matchmaking widow Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!
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The Queer Icons Still With Us In 2017
Huffington Post - about 2 months
There’s an urban legend that the Stonewall riots happened because gays were so upset by the death of Judy Garland. That never understood that until 2016, when we were all devastated by the loss of one queer icon after another ― David Bowie, George Michael, Debbie Reynolds, Alexis Arquette and so many more. There was even a rumor John Waters was about to go ― turns out he was just celebrating Christmas by passing a kidney stone. So don’t worry, John’s fine. And so are a ton of fabulous queer icons who are not just still alive, but producing some amazing work. And not just just kidney stones. Whether they’re gay themselves, or allies, or somewhere in between, the LGBT community’s role models are particularly important, since we’re often rendered invisible or closeted. When you hardly ever see your community held up as aspirational, you learn to be protective of the ones who make it, like Wanda Sykes, or the allies who’ve stood by us, like Cyndi Lauper. A lot of ...
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Huffington Post article
Farewell to Florence Henderson
Huffington Post - 3 months
Actress and entertainer Florence Henderson suffered a heart attack and died Thursday at age 82. She had a full life and resume, and is likely best known for her portrayal of Carol Brady on the sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974, which was only a part of her long and impressive career. I first met Florence in the late 1970s when she was married to a wonderful gentleman, theatrical producer Ira Bernstein. Ira collected vintage toy vehicles, and would often set up a sales/trade booth with Florence at an antique toy show in Long Beach, California. We were fellow toy collectors with different specializations and a common passion. Their home décor included beautiful display cases lined with Ira's remarkable collection. Florence and Ira had four children together. They divorced in 1985, but remained lifelong friends. Ira now lives out of state, but we had I had a heartfelt and bittersweet telephone conversation yesterday. Florence and I became reacquainted when some friends ...
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Huffington Post article
Bette Midler To Return To Broadway In 'Hello, Dolly!'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
NEW YORK (AP) — It's a match made in musical theater heaven -- Bette Midler will star in a Broadway revival of "Hello, Dolly!" Movie and theatrical producer Scott Rudin said Tuesday that the Divine Miss M will take on the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in a revival of the classic musical due to start next year. "There has not been a new production in 50 years," Rudin told The Associated Press. "Partly it was the difficulty of who could play Dolly. It had to be someone who could take it to a different level. Bette is the only one who can. Never has there been something more inevitable than her in this role." The musical tells the story of matchmaker and schemer Dolly Levi who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife. It's a musical version of Thornton Wilder's play, "The Matchmaker." Performances on Broadway begin on March 13, 2017, with an official opening night of April 20, 2017. Rehearsals begin one year from Tuesday. Midler and Rudin ...
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Aisle View: Hello, Bette!
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Hello, Dolly!--which turned fifty in 2014--is coming back to the lights of 44th Street (or thereabouts) in the spring of 2017, with the outsized title role essayed by the outsized Bette Midler. Dolly, one of the juiciest creations in musical comedy annals, has always worked best with a larger-than-life leading lady; a walking cartoon, if you will. Ms. Midler has been a walking cartoon since she exploded on the scene in 1970 at the Continental Baths. (That was a gay bathhouse, unusually enough; but then, Midler was and is nothing if not unusual.) During her first decades of fame, Midler was not only way too young to consider Dolly!; Broadway was way too square for the artist quickly anointed "The Divine Miss M." The traditional Broadway musical, that is. Midler did bring her nightclub act to the Palace for three sold-out weeks in December 1973; Broadway was so undernourished at the time that the powers deemed fit to reward her with a special Tony Award "for adding lustre to t ...
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Huffington Post article
Come & Meet His Dancin' Feet: Lee Roy Reams at 54Below
Huffington Post - over 1 year
I doubt anyone thinks that Applause, the 1970's musical version of All About Eve, is a seminal work, certainly not one of those "ground-breakers" like Show Boat, Company or A Chorus Line. And yet to me, it was every bit as important as the complete canon of Rodgers and Hammerstein simply because of one member of the original cast: Lee Roy Reams. Mr. Reams played Duane, Margo Channing's hairdresser (Channing was the indomitable Lauren Bacall), and to a theatrically leaning pre-teen, Reams's performance was a revelation, not because of his dancing abilities, which defied gravity, not because of his singing, his big Broadway belt bouncing off the last row of the Palace theater, but because he was playing an openly gay character on stage. His was the first portrayal of an open homosexual I had ever seen. I realized at that moment: if he can be proudly gay in front of 2,500 people at the Palace -- I didn't differentiate between him and the character; I was 11 -- I can be fine with b ...
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Huffington Post article
Be Mine: Valentines Day Gifts That Are Worth Committing Too
Huffington Post - about 2 years
Need the perfect Valentine's Day gift? Welcome to the club. Truth be told, shopping for your significant other can be a daunting task for even the most capable of gift givers. Whether you're looking for a present for your main squeeze, indulging in a bromance (no judgement), keeping things strictly platonic, or waiting for the verdict to come in on your new beau, fret not because I've rounded up the best buys that are sure to make your sweetie wanna bring it in for the real thing. First up, the boys. From the outdoorsy guy to the couch potato, the world traveler to the whiskey connoisseur (and everyone in between), I've handpicked the gifts that are guaranteed to make him swoon. Oh and just a word of warning to the guys out there who receive socks on Valentine's day morning...unless you're her grandfather, you should go ahead and expect an awkward "it's not you, it's me," speech in your near future. Just sayin. The World Traveler Is your valentine a frequent traveler? Wh ...
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When it came to Super Bowl halftimes, Carol Channing set the tone
LATimes - about 3 years
Carol Channing was the first halftime star in the game's history when she performed at Super Bowl IV. Television viewers will catch a glimpse of her again on Sunday. On the phone, history-making NFL figure Carol Channing. You mean you didn't know she was the first Super Bowl halftime star?
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Carol Channing on Super Bowl IV performance: 'We didn't even rehearse!'
Fox News - about 3 years
Broadway, film and movie legend Carol Channing paved the way for other superstars to be featured at halftime with a slightly-less elaborate spectacle over 40 years ago.
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Fox News article
A Good Year for Stacy Keach, A Tribute to Juanita Moore
Huffington Post - about 3 years
"Jupiter enters Leo for a year -- a boon for theatrical types of all persuasions!" writes our smart astrologist friend Shelley Ackerman. So, you take heart, my friends in show business. • SPEAKING OF this possibly being a very good year, the great actor Stacy Keach certainly thinks it might be! In June, Stacy will play Falstaff in both parts of Shakespeare's "Henry IV" at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington DC. The kicker to this is Stacy played the same role 46 years ago. He says, "I might be wrong, but I think I may be a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. When I played it back in 1968 in Central Park, I was 27. I received some very good reviews. Now I'm 72--reverse the numbers, but the role remains the same!" (Newsweek referred to Keach as a "Grand Young Man" in its review.) Stacy Keach is grand. I had a wonderful interview with him about a year ago. He is most famous for tough guy roles, but in real life he is adorably gentle, funny and smart. He's had ...
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Arts, Briefly: Carol Channing to Celebrate ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Anniversary
NYTimes - over 3 years
Carol Channing is set to return to Broadway for a one-night engagement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of “Hello Dolly.”     
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NYTimes article
In Praise of Musical Intelligence
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I'm old fashioned. I have deep respect and undying love for great songs. Some of them were written for Broadway shows; others to be performed at parties and in nightclubs. Some became popular over the radio or because they were included in beloved movie musicals. Few songs are written as mere throwaways. Most are carefully crafted by composers, lyricists, and given a specific musical imprint by their original arrangers. Just as legendary scenic designers like Oliver Smith, Boris Aronson, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, and Franco Zeffirelli put their personal stamp on great works of opera and musical theatre, orchestrators whose work is so often taken for granted have sculpted the emotional impact of many famous (and not so famous) songs. Think of the orchestrations created by Ralph Burns for "The Music That Makes Me Dance," Philip J. Lang for "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," and Don Walker for "If I Loved You." Think of the great work done by such legendary Broadway orchestrators as Robert Russ ...
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Huffington Post article
How It Felt To Be Hirschfelded
Arts Journal - over 3 years
Michael Feinstein, Alan Cumming, Carol Channing and Tommy Tune talk about having their caricatures drawn by the late, great Al Hirschfeld. The New York Times 10/18/13
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Arts Journal article
Girls Gone Wild
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I'm not a prude. But some things can still surprise me. The other day I was walking home from a lunch date when I noticed something strange happening at the intersection of Church and 16th Streets. A young boy, under his mother's watchful eye, was urinating against the glass wall of the MUNI kiosk. After walking down 16th Street for one more block, I turned the corner and saw a middle-aged woman squatting on the front steps of the Basilica Parish of Mission Dolores with her pants down around her ankles as she proceeded to urinate in broad daylight. A male friend appeared to be standing by, patiently waiting for her to finish. Is the neighborhood going to ruin? Numerous friends have noticed how, in recent years, street fairs and celebrations in the Castro District have been overrun by thrill-seeking suburban straights. Some come looking to party, others come hoping to provoke violence. Some arrive in high heels, others are packing heat. Friends who live close by report increasing num ...
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Huffington Post article
John Polly: WATCH: John Polly Recaps 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 5, Ep. 5
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Another RuPaul's Drag Race season, another "Snatch Game" challenge. Who soared? Who bored? Let me (above, left) give you the basics. Do you know your queer icons? Are you a Grey Gardens queen or a Braxton Family Values fan? Hopefully there's room for us all to peacefully coexist. Either way... This week on RuPaul's Drag Race, it was time for the annual rite of draggage that is the celeb-impersonation fest known as "Snatch Game." This mad little challenge has been a landmark moment of the last three seasons (Chad Michaels' Cher! Pandora Boxx's Carol Channing!), but it can get real rough too ("Kenya Michaels, playing Beyoncé was not your destiny, child..."). You have to be funny, transcend expectations and crack Ru's ass up! How'd it go? This week's Extra Lap Recap breaks it down. Along the way we've got some classic MTV sass from Julie ("Just Say Julie") Brown and Downtown Julie Brown, a savage "Who Wore it Best?" mini-challenge, poop jokes and a shrimp boat's wort ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Carol Channing
  • 2012
    Age 91
    A documentary about her was released in 2012 titled Larger Than Life.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2011
    Age 90
    In January 2011, the documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (which chronicles Channing's life and career) was released.
    More Details Hide Details Channing has been married four times. Her first husband Theodore Naidish was a writer. Her second husband Alexander Carson played center for the Ottawa Rough Riders Canadian football team. They had one son named Channing Carson.
  • 2005
    Age 84
    Channing was introduced to the stage while helping her mother. In a 2005 interview with the Austin Chronicle, Channing recounted this experience:
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2003
    Age 82
    On May 10, 2003, she married Harry Kullijian (December 27, 1919 – December 26, 2011), her junior high-school sweetheart, who reunited with her after she mentioned him fondly in her memoir.
    More Details Hide Details The two performed at their old junior high school, which had become Aptos Middle School, in a benefit for the school. She and Kullijian were active in promoting arts education in California schools through their Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation. The couple resided in Modesto, California. Harry Kullijian died on December 26, 2011, the eve of his 92nd birthday. Channing is an ovarian cancer survivor. Original Cast Albums Additional albums
    In January 2003, Channing recorded the audiobook of her best-selling autobiography Just Lucky, I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts, directed and produced by Steve Garrin at VideoActive Productions in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details It was during the recording sessions that she received a phone call from her childhood sweetheart Harry Kullijian that rekindled their romance and led to their marriage a few months later.
  • 1998
    Age 77
    Channing filed for divorce from Lowe in 1998, but her estranged husband died before the divorce was finalized.
    More Details Hide Details After Lowe's death and until shortly before her fourth marriage, the actress's companion was Roger Denny, an interior decorator.
  • 1993
    Age 72
    In 1993, she poked a little fun at herself in an episode of The Nanny.
    More Details Hide Details The episode "Smoke Gets in Your Lies" shows the producer auditioning for a new musical and Channing, playing herself, is trying out. Just after the producer announces he wants a stage presence that is instantly recognizable to the entire country, Channing begins with her signature "Hello, Dolly! ", but he stops her with a resounding "Next!".
  • 1986
    Age 65
    In 1986, Channing appeared on Sesame Street and sang a parody of the song "Hello, Dolly!
    More Details Hide Details " called "Hello, Sammy!". She performed it as a love song to Sammy the Snake (voiced by Jim Henson) as Sammy coiled himself around Channing's arms. This song includes lyrics, such as, "So... turn on your charm, Sammy/Coil yourself around my arm, Sammy/Sammy the Snake, I'll stake a claim on you."
  • 1962
    Age 41
    During her film career, Channing also made some guest appearances on television sitcoms and talk shows, including What's My Line?, where she appeared in 11 episodes from 1962 to 1966.
    More Details Hide Details Channing did voice-over work in cartoons, most notably as Grandmama in an animated version of The Addams Family from 1992-95.
  • 1961
    Age 40
    In 1961, Channing became one of the few performers nominated for a Tony Award for work in a revue (rather than a traditional book musical); she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for the short-lived revue Show Girl.
    More Details Hide Details Channing came to national prominence as the star of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! (1964). Her performance as Dolly won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, in a year when her chief competition was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl and Bea Lillie for High Spirits. Carol Channing reprised her role of Lorelei Lee when the musical Lorelei, directed by Robert Moore and choreographed by Ernest O. Flatt, premiered in 1973 at the Oklahoma City (6000 seat) Civic Center Music Hall and broke all box office records after six days worth of performances sold out within 24 hours. To commemorate this record event the street running in front of the Music Hall was renamed Channing Square Drive in honor of Miss Channing. Also in the cast were Tamara Long as Dorothy and Peter Palmer as Gus, with Brandon Maggart, Dody Goodman, and Lee Roy Reams in supporting roles. For nearly a year, the stage musical then toured 11 cities across the country. Lorelei had already earned a hefty profit by the time it opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on January 27, 1974 and ran for a total of 320 performances. Channing also appeared in two New York City revivals of Hello, Dolly!, and toured with it extensively throughout the United States. She also appeared in a number of films, including The First Traveling Sales Lady (1956; with Ginger Rogers and Clint Eastwood), the cult film Skidoo, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (starring Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore and Beatrice Lillie).
  • 1956
    Age 35
    In 1956, Channing married her manager and publicist Charles Lowe.
    More Details Hide Details They remained married for 42 years. During this time, her son Channing Carson took his stepfather's surname; he publishes his cartoons as Chan Lowe and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
  • 1941
    Age 20
    Channing's first job on stage in New York was in Marc Blitzstein's No for an Answer, starting January 5, 1941, at the Mecca Temple (later New York's City Center).
    More Details Hide Details She was 19 years old. Channing moved to Broadway for Let's Face It!, in which she was an understudy for Eve Arden. Decades later, Arden would play Dolly in a road company after Channing finally relinquished her signature role. Five years later, Channing had a featured role in Lend an Ear, for which she received her Theatre World Award. She was spotted by author Anita Loos and cast in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as Lorelei Lee, the role that gained her recognition (her signature song from the production was "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend").
  • 1937
    Age 16
    She won the Crusaders' Oratorical Contest and a free trip to Hawaii with her mother in June 1937.
    More Details Hide Details According to Channing's 2002 memoir, when she left home to attend Bennington College in Vermont, her mother informed her that her father George, whom Channing had believed was born in Rhode Island, had actually been born in Augusta, Georgia. Adelaide said her husband's father was German-American and his mother was African American. Channing's paternal grandmother had moved with George to Providence, Rhode Island for his opportunities. Channing learned she "was part Negro" when she was sixteen. Her mother told her because now that her daughter was going off to college, she didn't want her to be surprised "if she had a black baby". Channing's mother's family was of German descent. As she was of majority European-American ancestry, Channing continued to identify as white as a performer on Broadway and in Hollywood. She made her claim to African-American ancestry in her autobiography, Just Lucky I Guess (2002), which contains a photograph of her mother, but no photos of her father or son. She writes in the book that her father's birth certificate was destroyed in a fire.
  • 1921
    Age 0
    Channing was born Carol Elaine Channing in Seattle, Washington on January 31, 1921, the only child of George and Adelaide Channing (née Glaser; 1886–1984).
    More Details Hide Details Her father was born George Christian Stucker, but changed his surname before his daughter's birth. A city editor at the Seattle Star, her father took a job in San Francisco and the family moved when Channing was two weeks old. Her father later became a Christian Science practitioner, editor, and teacher. She attended Aptos Junior High School and Lowell High School, San Francisco, graduating in 1938.
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