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Carol Channing

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Title: Carol Channing  
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Subject: Hello, Dolly! (musical), Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, Skidoo (film), Patriot Games (Family Guy), Thoroughly Modern Millie
Collection: 1921 Births, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 21St-Century American Actresses, Actresses from Seattle, Washington, African-American Actresses, African-American Christians, African-American Comedians, African-American Female Singers, African-American Non-Fiction Writers, American Christian Scientists, American Entertainers, American Film Actresses, American Memoirists, American Musical Theatre Actresses, American People of African Descent, American People of German Descent, American Stage Actresses, American Television Actresses, American Theater Hall of Fame Inductees, American Voice Actresses, American Women Comedians, Bennington College Alumni, Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe (Film) Winners, Lgbt Rights Activists from the United States, Living People, Musicians from Seattle, Washington, Ovarian Cancer Survivors, Rca Victor Artists, Tony Award Winners
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Carol Channing

Carol Channing
Channing in 1960
Born Carol Elaine Channing
(1921-01-31) January 31, 1921
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Ethnicity German
African American
Alma mater Bennington College
Occupation Stand-up comedienne, actress, singer, dancer, comedienne
Years active 1941–present
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Spouse(s) Theodore Naidish (m. 1941; div. 1944)
Alexander Carson (m. 1953; div. 1956)
Charles Lowe (m. 1956; died 1999)
Harry Kullijian (m. 2003; died 2011)
Children 1
Parent(s) George and Adelaide Channing

Carol Elaine Channing (born January 31, 1921) is an American actress, singer, dancer, comedian, and voice artist.

She won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Other film appearances include The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) and Skidoo (1968). On television she has made many appearances as an entertainer on variety shows, from the The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1950s to Hollywood Squares. She is also known for her performance as The White Queen in a 1985 production of Alice in Wonderland.

Channing was nominated for her first Tony Award in 1956 for The Vamp. Her second nomination came in 1961 for Show Girl. In 1964 she originated the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She received her fourth Tony Award nomination for the musical Lorelei in 1974. Lorelei was a re-imagining of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a 1949 musical that also starred Channing in the lead role of Lorelei Lee, which made her a star.

Channing was inducted to the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, and received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995. She continues to perform and make appearances, singing songs from her repertoire and sharing stories with fans, cabaret style. She released an autobiography titled Just Lucky I Guess in 2002. A documentary about her was released in 2012 titled Larger Than Life.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Legacy and honors 4
  • Theater credits 5
  • Filmography 6
    • Film 6.1
    • Television 6.2
  • Discography 7
  • Awards and nominations 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Channing was born Carol Elaine Channing in

External links

  • Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts by Carol Channing (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
  • Diary of a Mad Playwright: Perilous Adventures on the Road with Mary Martin and Carol Channing by James Kirkwood, Jr., about production of the play "Legends" (Dutton, 1989)

Further reading

  1. ^ Potempa, Phil (2014-08-09). "OFFBEAT WITH PHIL POTEMPA: Carol Channing, 93, team with Tune for stage tour". NWI Times. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  2. ^ "Carol Channing biography" Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  3. ^ Carol Channing, Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts, Waterville, Maine: 2003, p. 50
  4. ^ Carol Channing's father was born George Christian Stucker on November 21, 1888, in Providence, Rhode Island, living with his wife Adelaide, on Commonwealth Street, Boston.
  5. ^ Zinko, Carolyne (May 11, 2003). "Carol Channing marries long-time sweetheart", reprinted at; retrieved June 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "Carol Channing on The Wendy Williams Show". The Wendy Show. 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  7. ^ U.S. Federal Census, 1900, accessed on on 13 April 2015
  8. ^ "Carol Channing reveals her father was Black". Jet. November 4, 2002. Retrieved April 21, 2008. 
  9. ^ "". CNN. 
  10. ^ Carol Channing biodata,, May 22, 2003; accessed May 10, 2014.
  11. ^ Profile,; accessed May 2, 2015.
  12. ^ The November 4, 2002, issue of Jet magazine reported, based on her autobiography, that Channing's father was African-American. Note: Since he was accepted as white, it is likely his mother had both European and African ancestry, so he may have been of majority European ancestry and not "passing".
  13. ^ Faires, Robert (July 22, 2005). "The Carol You Don't Know". Austin Chronicle, Online Edition. Retrieved May 10, 2006. 
  14. ^ "1961 Tony Award Winners - Browse by Year". Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Price, Mary Sue (1984-09-30). "Well, Hello, Carol! That Luminous Lady Lights City's Night". NewsOK. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  16. ^ "Hello, Dolly! on Broadway". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  17. ^ "Awards for Thoroughly Modern Millie". Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)., Inc. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ "The 40th Academy Awards (1968) Nominees and Winners". The Awards. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Thoroughly Modern Millie". Award Search. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  20. ^ Carol Channing sings to Sammy the Snake on YouTube
  21. ^ "Documentary film about Carol Channing premieres in January 2011",, January 20, 2012; accessed September 29, 2015.
  22. ^ Shapiro, Eddie. Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater. p. 33. 
  23. ^ "Meet Chan Lowe". Slate. Retrieved April 21, 2008. 
  24. ^ Oliver, Myrna (1999-09-05). "Obituaries : Charles Lowe; Husband of Carol Channing". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  25. ^ Winn, Steven (October 24, 2002). "Looking swell: Carol Channing's back in the spotlight with memoir and plans for new show". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 21, 2008. 
  26. ^ Estate sale dim on star power,, July 19, 2013.
  27. ^ "Carol Channing on her battle with ovarian cancer",; accessed September 29, 2015.
  28. ^ Excerpt from Channing bio re her battle with ovarian cancer,; accessed September 29, 2015.
  29. ^ "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame", The New York Times, March 3, 1981.
  30. ^ Hodgins, Paul (February 4, 2006). "Carol Channing: A Lifetime of Experience". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 21, 2007. 
  31. ^ Moran, Frankie. "Carol Channing to Offer Highlights From Her Six Decade Career". North County Timesdate=November 8, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2007. 
  32. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 13, 2004). "Carol Channing Honored By York Theatre Company". Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  33. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated.
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Episode Detail: Carol Channing, David Steinberg - The Flip Wilson Show". The Flip Wilson Show Episodes on NBC. TV Guide. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  37. ^ "Episode Detail: Carol Channing, Ed Asner, Donny Hathaway - The Flip Wilson Show". The Flip Wilson Show Episodes on NBC. TV Guide. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 


Year Awards Award Outcome
1956 Tony Awards Best Actress, Musical, The Vamp Nominated
1961 Tony Awards Best Actress, Musical, Show Girl Nominated
1964 Tony Awards Best Actress, Musical, Hello, Dolly! Won
1968 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress, Thoroughly Modern Millie Nominated
Golden Globes Best Supporting Actress, Thoroughly Modern Millie Won
Tony Awards Special Award Won
1974 Tony Awards Best Actress, Musical, Lorelei Nominated
1995 Tony Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2002 Grammy Awards Grammy Hall of Fame, Hello, Dolly! original cast album Won

Awards and nominations

  • Archy And Mehitabel - A Back-Alley Opera (with Eddie Bracken), 1954
  • Carol Channing, Vanguard Records, 1961
  • Carol Channing Reads Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Caedmon Records, 1962
  • Carol Channing Entertains, Command Records, 1965
  • Carol Channing Reads Madeleine, Caedmon Records, 1970s
  • C and W (with Webb Pierce), Plantation Records, 1976
  • Carol Channing and Her Country Friends (guest appearances by Jimmy C. Newman, Hank Locklin, and others), Plantation Records, 1977
  • Carol Channing on Tour, 51 West Records, 1980
  • Jazz Baby, DRG Records. 1994
  • "Just Lucky, I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts", Audiobook, 2003
  • For Heaven's Sake, New Day Records, 2010
  • True To The Red, White, and Blue, Homesick Entertainment, 2012
Additional albums:
Original Cast Albums:
Channing in 1973


Year Series Role Notes
1957 The Red Skelton Show, Starring Red Skelton Daisy June 2 episodes
1962-66 What's My Line? Herself 11 episodes
1958 The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford Herself 2 episodes
1971 The Flip Wilson Show Herself 1 episode[36][37]
1980 The Muppet Show Herself 1 episode
1981 The Love Boat Varying roles 7 episodes
1983 Magnum, P.I. Herself 1 episode
1986-88 Sesame Street Herself 2 episodes
1990 Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers Canina LaFur 2 episodes; voice role
1991 Where's Waldo? Varying roles 13 episodes
1992-93 The Addams Family Grandmama Addams; voice role 15 episodes
1993 2 Stupid Dogs Wicked Witch / Elderly Woman 2 episodes; voice role
1993 The Nanny Herself 1 episode
1994 The Magic School Bus Cornelia C. Contralto 1 episode; voice role
1994 Burke's Law 1 episode
1995 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Herself 1 episode
1998 Style & Substance Herself 1 episode
2006 Family Guy Carol Channing 1 episode; voice role
2006 Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List Herself 1 episode


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Paid in Full Mrs. Peters Uncredited
1956 The First Traveling Saleslady Molly Wade
1967 All About People Narrator Short film
1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie Muzzy Van Hossmere Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
1968 Skidoo Flo Banks
1970 Shinbone Alley Mehitabel Voice role
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Guest at Heartland Cameo
1983 Parade of Stars Lorelei Lee Television film
1985 Alice in Wonderland White Queen
1993 Happily Ever After Muddy Voice role
1994 Thumbelina Ms. Fieldmouse Voice role
1998 Homo Heights Herself Uncredited
1998 The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars Fanny Voice role
2003 Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There Herself
2011 Carol Channing: Larger Than Life Herself Documentary
The handprints of Carol Channing in front of The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort.



Channing with Peter Palmer in Lorelei

Theater credits

Legacy and honors

Channing is an ovarian cancer survivor.[27][28]

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. 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.[26] Harry Kullijian died on December 26, 2011, the eve of his 92nd birthday.

After Lowe's death and until shortly before her fourth marriage, the actress's companion was Roger Denny, an interior decorator.[25]

In 1956, Channing married her manager and publicist Charles Lowe. They remained married for 42 years. During this time, Carson took his stepfather's surname; he publishes his cartoons as Chan Lowe and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work.[23] Channing filed for divorce from Lowe in 1998, but her estranged husband died before the divorce was finalized.[24]

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.[22]

Channing in 2009

Personal life

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. 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. In January 2011, the documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (which chronicles Channing's life and career) was released.[21]

In 1986, Channing appeared on Sesame Street and sang a parody of the song "Hello, Dolly!" 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."[20] In 1993, she poked a little fun at herself in an episode of The Nanny. 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!".

In 1966, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre. 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. Channing did voice-over work in cartoons, most notably as Grandmama in an animated version of The Addams Family from 1992-95.

Channing performing with Pearl Bailey in 1973

Due to her phenomenal success on Broadway in Hello Dolly! and her co-starring role in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Channing attracted the attentions of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who were interested in starring her in a sitcom. Directed and produced by Arnaz and written by Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Davis (who were responsible for the success of I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show), The Carol Channing Show starred Channing as Carol Hunnicut, a small-town girl trying and failing to make it in New York City show business. Character actors Richard Deacon and Jane Dulo were in the supporting cast. The pilot was filmed in front of a live audience (with a laugh track added for sweetening) at Desilu in 1966, but did not manage to sell as a series. For over 40 years, The Carol Channing Show was unavailable for viewing until a few years ago when the program was donated to the Paley Center for Media.

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). 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.[17][18][19]

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 revivals of Hello, Dolly!, and toured with it extensively throughout the United States.[16]

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.[15]

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"). 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.[14]

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). 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.

Channing with David Burns in Hello, Dolly!
My mother said, "Carol, would you like to help me distribute [13]

Channing was introduced to the stage while helping her mother. In a 2005 interview with the Austin Chronicle, Channing recounted this experience:


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.[11] The book claims her father's birth certificate was destroyed in a fire.[12]

According to Channing's 2002 memoir, when she left home to attend Providence, Rhode Island for his opportunities. According to Channing's account, her mother reportedly did not want Channing to be surprised "if she had a black baby".[8][9] Channing's mother's family was of German descent.[10]

[5], graduating in 1938. She won the Crusaders' Oratorical Contest and a free trip to Hawaii with her mother in June 1937.Lowell High School, San Francisco practitioner, editor, and teacher. She attended Aptos Junior High School and Christian Science and the family moved when Channing was two weeks old. Her father later became a San Francisco, her father took a job in Seattle Star A city editor at the [4][3]

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