Friday, January 31, 2014

Jan. 31: Carol Channing - "Hello, Dolly! " is 93-years-old today.

Singer, actress, and comedienne Carol Channing has received 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!

Carol Elaine Channing was born in Seattle, Washington, and her family moved to San Francisco shortly after she was born. Carol attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where she was a member of its famed Lowell Forensic Society, the nation's oldest high-school debate team.

Channing first became interested in acting while distributing Christian Science Monitors backstage at the live theatres in San Francisco with her mother. "This is for people who have gotten a glimpse of creation and all they do is recreate it," Channing said during a 2005 interview with the Austin Chronicle. "I stood there and wanted to kiss the floorboards."

Channing's first job on stage in New York was in Marc Blitzstein's No For an Answer in 1941 when was 19 years old. Channing then moved to Broadway for Let's Face It!

Five years later, Channing had a featured role in a revue, Lend an Ear. She was spotted by author Anita Loos and cast in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as Lorelei Lee, the role that brought her to prominence. Her signature song from the production was "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

In 1961, Channing became one of a very few Tony Award nominees to gain a nomination for work in a revue rather than a traditional musical, when she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, for the short-lived revue Show Girl.

Channing came to national prominence as the star of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! She never missed a performance during her run. Her performance won her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, in a year when her chief competition was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl, who coincidentally, played Dolly Levi in the film version.

Channing reprised the role of Lorelei Lee in the musical Lorelei. She also appeared in two New York revivals of Hello, Dolly!, and toured with it extensively throughout the United States.

She also appeared in a number of movies, The First Traveling Sales Lady in 1956, the cult film Skidoo and Thoroughly Modern Millie, opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. For Millie she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website:

Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of SortsCarol Channing & Pearl Bailey on Broadway


During her film career she also made guest appearances on television sitcoms and talk shows, including  What's My Line?, on which she appeared in eleven episodes from 1962 to 1966. Channing also did a fair amount of voice over work in cartoons, most notably as Grandmama Addams in an animated version of The Addams Family which ran from 1992 to 1995.

Channing was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995, and an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by California State University, Stanislaus in 2004. That same year, she received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

She and husband Harry Kullijian are active in promoting arts education in California schools with the Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation.


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