Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Singer > C > Carol Channing

Profile of Carol Channing on Famous Like Me

Name: Carol Channing  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 31st January 1921
Place of Birth: Seattle, Washington, USA
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Carol Channing photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1956

Carol Channing (born on January 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington) is a United States actress whose career was built largely on two roles, Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello Dolly!. She is easily recognized by her distinctive voice and wide eyes.

She was born an only child in Seattle, Washington. Her father was an editor and moved the family to San Francisco when she was younger. She went to school at Aptos Junior High School and met an Armenian-American man named Harry Kullijian and they became sweethearts. They lost touch when she went to Lowell High School of San Francisco. Her high I.Q. lead her to the most prestigious high school in the American West at that time. When she left home to attend another prestigious school, Bennington College in Vermont, her mother informed her that her father, a journalist who she had believed was born in Rhode Island, was actually a light-skinned African-American born in Augusta, Georgia who had passed for white, saying that the only reason she was telling her was so she wouldn't be surprised "if she had a black baby". She kept her heritage secret so she would not be typecast on Broadway and in Hollywood, ultimately revealing it only in her autobiography, Just Lucky I Guess, which was published in 2002, when she was more than 80 years old.

Her first Broadway play was Let's Face It, where she was an understudy for Eve Arden. She had a featured role in a review, Lend an Ear, where she was spotted by Anita Loos and cast in the role of Lorelei Lee, which was to bring her to prominence. (Her signature song from the production was "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.") Carol's persona and that of the character were strikingly alike: simultaneously smart yet scattered, naïve but worldly.

She came to national prominence as the star of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! She never missed a performance during her run, attributing her good health to her Christian Science faith. 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. She was deeply disappointed when Streisand, who was far too young for the role, successfully campaigned to play the role of Dolly Levi in the film. (Channing was probably comforted to know that few who had seen her on stage were impressed by Streisand's bizarre interpretation of the role, an odd combination of Jewish yenta and Mae West.)

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

In 1966 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie, opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. She has expressed both anger and bemusement at Barbra Streisand's being cast as "Dolly Levi" in the movie version of Hello Dolly, which also starred the late Walter Matthau as "Horace", who didn't look like he was having a very good time, and a young Michael Crawford as "Cornelius".

She married four times. Her first husband, Theodore Naidish, was a writer; her second, Alexander Carson, was center for the Ottawa Rough Riders Canadian football team (they had one son, Channing Lowe, who is a cartoonist and who took his step-father's surname). In 1956 she married her manager and publicist Charles Lowe. They remained married for 42 years, but she abruptly filed for divorce in 1998, alleging that she and Lowe had not had marital relations in many years and only twice in that timespan; she also alleged that Lowe was gay, a fact she evidently did not realize when they wed, but he denied her allegations. He died before the divorce was finalized.

On May 10, 2003, she married Harry Kullijian, her fourth husband and her old junior high school sweetheart, who reunited with her after she mentioned him fondly in her memoir. At Lowell High School, her old school, they renamed the school's auditorium "The Carol Channing Theatre" in honor of her. On February 25, 2002, the City of San Francisco, California proclaimed it was Carol Channing Day, possibly for her advocacy of gay rights and her appearance one year as the celebrity host of the Gay Pride Day festivities in Hollywood.

Her autobiography entitled "Just Lucky I Guess" was released on October 8, 2002. In her memoirs, Channing reveals her "long kept secret" that she has African American ancestry, through her father, George Channing, who she claims was a light-skinned African-American who kept his racial identity a secret, understandably considering the treatment of that community in those days, even in a state like Washington.

Carol Channing has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard.

Stage Performances

  • Let's Face It! (1941)
  • Proof Through the Night (1942)
  • Lend an Ear (1948)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949)
  • Wonderful Town (1953) (replaced Rosalind Russell for a few months)
  • The Vamp (a legendary flop) (1955)
  • Show Girl (1961)
  • Hello, Dolly! (1964)
  • Four on a Garden (1971)
  • Lorelei (a reworking of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) (1974)
  • Jule's Friends at the Palace (benefit) (1974)
  • Hello, Dolly! (revival) (1978)
  • Hello, Dolly! (revival) (1995)


  • Paid in Full (1950)
  • The First Traveling Saleslady (1956)
  • All About People (1967) (short subject) (narrator)
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
  • Skidoo (1968)
  • Shinbone Alley (1971) (voice)
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) (cameo)
  • Happily Ever After (1993) (voice)
  • Thumbelina (1994) (voice)
  • Edie & Pen (1997)
  • Homo Heights (1998) (cameo)
  • Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003) (documentary)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Carol Channing