Carol Channing

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  • Trivia

    • Carol's husband,Harry Kullijian, died in December 2011, the day before his 92nd birthday. Together they formed a foundation to promote the arts in California schools.

    • Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, a film about the actress's life and career premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2011, a few weeks after Carol's 90th birthday, January 31.

    • Channing revealed in a 2011 interview that she contemplated suicide after losing the role of Dolly Levi for the film adaptation of Hello, Dolly to Barbra Streisand. An appearance on stage later that day was the only thing that kept Carol from jumping from her 18th-floor hotel window.

    • In the fall of 2010, at the age of 89, Carol served as "professor in residence" at Colorado State University, where she taught a Master Class.

    • Carol's first time on any stage was in elementary school when she was seven and running for Student Body Secretary. She did an imitation of the principal and got laughs from everybody, including the principal.

    • In 1970 Carol performed in the first Super Bowl halftime show to feature celebrities. Prior to 1970 Super Bowl halftime shows featured college marching bands.

    • Carol released her first gospel album, titled "For Heaven's Sake," in 2009. The album is a tribute to her parents and her upbringing in the Christian Science faith.

    • Carol has survived ovarian cancer, even though a reported 70% of women are diagnosed too late to be treated successfully.

    • Carol was honored at a benefit for Actors and Others for Animals on November 15, 2008. The Celebration of Caring luncheon raised more than $100,000.00 for the charity. The roster of celebreties who came to honor Channing showed their support for the star, who broke her leg in a fall a month before, by sporting crutches, slings and walkers.

    • In September 2008 Carol fractured her hip in a fall at home, forcing her to cancel several appearances. This marks the first time in her 70-year career Carol has backed out of performance commitments.

    • A major museum exhibition honoring Carol Channing's 60 years in show business was on display at the Museum of Performance & Design (formerly the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum) from September 26, 2008 to March 14, 2009. The exhibit included costumes Carol wore in some of her shows, her Golden Globe award, original drawings of Carol by Al Hirschfeld, and more.

    • On June 23, 2008, Carol was presented the National PTA Life Achievement Award, the PTA's highest honor for Advocacy for Arts in Education.

    • Carol and her husband, Harry Kullijian, are great promoters of fine arts in the public school system. As of 2008 they promised to establish a scholarship in arts education at each college in the University of California system.

    • In 2008, at the age of 87, Carol performed a concert in Portsmouth, New Hampsire, to benefit the AIDS Response Seacoast charity organization on its 20th anniversary. To honor Channing, Gov. John Lynch declared the day of the concert, April 3, to be Carol Channing Day in the State of New Hampshire.

    • Carol was honored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2008. Channing donated the Bob Mackie dress she wore in her stage role as Lorelei in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" to the museum's permanent exhibit.

    • Awards and Nominations:
      ~Nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Thoroughly Modern Millie
      ~1949 Theatre World Award winner for Lend an Ear
      ~1956 Tony Award nominee as Best Actress is a Musical for The Vamp
      ~1964 Tony award winner for her performance as Dolly Gallegher Levi in the musical Hello Dolly!
      ~1968 Winner of Tony Award's "Special Award"
      ~1971's Harvard Hasty Pudding "Woman of the Year" Award

      ~1974 Tony Award winner as Best Actress in a Musical for Lorelei
      ~1995 Winner of Tony Award's "Lifetime Achievement" Award
      ~1995 Los Angeles Drama Critics' Lifetime Achievement Award

    • Channing's Broadway shows include "No For An Answer," "Lend An Ear," "Show Girl," "Pygmalion," "The Millionairess," "The Vamp," "Four On A Garden" and "Wonderful Town."

    • Carol's films include "The First Traveling Saleslady" (1956), "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967), "Skidoo" (1968) and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1978).

    • Carol has been married four times, to: Alexander Carson, Theodore Naidish, Charles Lowe and Harry Kullijian.

    • As of 2006 Carol is performing a one-woman show featuring 90 minutes of storytelling, memories and singing, including impersonations of Marlene Dietrich and Tallulah Bankhead.

    • In 2004 California State University at Stanislaus awarded Carol an Honorary Doctorate of Entertainment Arts.

    • As of 2006, Carol is a resident of Modesto, California.

    • Carol's son, Channing Lowe, is an editorial cartoonist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

    • Carol's fourth husband, Harry Kullijian, had been her junior high school sweetheart. They reunited after she mentioned him in her autobiography, and married on May 10, 2003, when Carol was 82 years old.

    • Carol is most famous for two roles she played on Broadway: Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and Dolly Gallagher Levi in "Hello Dolly."

    • Carol revealed in her autobiography "Just Lucky, I Guess," published in 2002, that her father was a light-skinned African American who passed as white.

    • Carol attended Bennington College in Vermont.

    • Carol's father was a prominent newspaper editor.

    • Carol is active in the Christian Science religion.

    • Carol is a diabetic.

  • Quotes

    • Carol Channing: (on her marriage to Harry Kullijian) Well, it's the first time I've been totally loved. I mean, except by my parents. All the way. It was there the moment we reconnected.

    • Carol: Oh, gosh, my stage fright is just terrible. Some people don't realize what a delicate craft it is. It's an art to reach the audience. They've saved their hard-earned money, gotten baby sitters, driven in from everywhere - long distances, short distances, gotten on the subway. All you know is you've got to reach them. You've got to keep your mind on lifting their lives, not my life. I'm not there for my own pleasure.

    • Carol Channing: (on the importance of teaching the arts in public schools) Arts fertilize children's brains.

    • Carol Channing: Art is an elixir for the soul, and it should be available to everyone.

    • Carol Channing: You know, if you're lucky enough to have two smash hit shows, the traffic of the world goes through your dressing room.

    • Carol Channing: Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.

    • Carol Channing: If I talk about something I either talk about it or I DO it... the minute I talk about it it's lost all it's drive and all it's fun.

    • Carol Channing: I'm allergic to chemicals in food so I eat only organic foods. I've never missed a show so it must be doing something.

    • Carol Channing: Because of very often falling in the orchestra pit, I've broken ribs, arms, ankles, and even got a pitcher's elbow from throwing out all those diamonds!

    • Carol Channing: My mother said to me, "You're revolting. And on top of that, you're not very feminine." Well, that led me to the stage, which is an accepting and comfortable place. So in a way I have my mother to thank.

    • Carol Channing: I'm terribly shy, but of course no one believes me. Come to think of it, neither would I.