Carol Channing Biography
Claim to Fame: Broadway Singer
DOB: January 31, 1921
Diabetes Type: 1
Carol Channing was born on January 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington. She was the only child of George, a prominent newspaper editor and Christian Science lecturer, and Adelaide (Glaser) Channing. She attended grade school in San Francisco and worked as a model in Los Angeles. After graduating, Carol attended the prestigious Bennington College in Vermont where she studied drama and dance before heading to New York to pursue her dream of working in the entertainment industry.
Eventually Carol made her debut in the chorus of the musical No for an Answer (1941), and later that same year she was the understudy for Eve Arden in Let's Face It! Her big break finally came though when she appeared in Lend an Ear (1948), where the wide-eyed beauty displayed her fabulous comic talents and vocal abilities.
Carol cemented her reputation and fame on Broadway when she landed the role of Lorelei Lee in the musical Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1949). The show ran for 740 performances, and the cast album was a Top Ten. Along with her first breakout role, the 1950's brought with it many other successes for Carol. She appeared in her first feature film Paid in Full, and did numerous television appearances, but live performances were always her first love. In 1954, she took the lead role in the Broadway musical Wonderful Town, and then went on to star in The Vamp as well.
The Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! Was Carol Channing's most prestigious achievement. This 1964 musical catapulted the cast album to a gold-selling #1 hit, and won Carol a Tony for her performance. She starred in the show for over a year and a half on Broadway before touring with it all the way into 1967.
After her stint with Hello, Dolly! Carol was featured in the all-star cast of the film comedy Skidoo, and in the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she earned herself an Academy Award nomination. In the late 1960's and 1970's, Carol Channing toured around the world performing in a series of musicals and plays that included Stout-Hearted Men, Four on a Garden, Cabaret, Gentlemen Who Prefer Blondes, and Festival at Ford's.
Carol Channing's career has been one of utmost success. In 1995, she returned to Broadway for a 30th anniversary performance of Hello, Dolly! Later, in 2003, the octogenarian released her best selling memoir, "Just Lucky I Guess," and received the Julie Harris Lifetime Achievement Award from the Actors' Fund of America. Carol also toured the nation (from Broadway to the Hollywood Bowl) and abroad with her new one-woman show entitled "The First Eighty Years are the Hardest."
In 2004, Broadway's "first lady of musical comedy" received an honorary doctoral degree becoming Doctor Carol Channing at the 44th annual California State University, Stanislaus Commencement ceremony in May 2004. This is only the third Honorary Doctoral Degree given in CSU Stanislaus 45-year history. In addition, Carol was presented with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for lifetime achievement in musical theatre from the York Theatre Company, in New York.
Carol married a total of four times, her current husband being her junior high school sweetheart, businessman Harry Kullijian, after a 70 year separation. She is also the mother of Chan Lowe, a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, who has the distinction of being a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Reviewed by dLife staff 12/13.
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