Carol Channing’s fame comes from two smashing successes on Broadway: as Lorelei in 1950’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and as Dolly in 1964’s “Hello, Dolly!”. Although she didn’t get the film roles — she was upstaged by Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand — Channing was associated with those characters her entire career and performed the plays thousands of times.
She has appeared on TV and been in a handful of movies, most notably in 1967’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and 1994’s animated “Thumbelina,” but her career as an entertainer has been focused on the stage.
Her distinctive appearance and voice have made her a favorite of both male and female impersonators. In 2002, she published her memoirs, “Just Lucky I Guess.” Channing’s signature song is “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” though her version of “Hello, Dolly!” is as famous as Louis Armstrong’s.
In 2003, at the age of 82, Channing married Harry Kullijian, her former middle school sweetheart who she hadn’t heard from in 70 years!
These days she’s very focused on making a difference. She is convinced of the importance and benefits of arts in the schools and is fighting hard to get classes reestablished. The passion is easy to hear in her voice when the topic of conversation becomes children. Nearing 90, Channing is still engaging, entertaining and charming.