Carol Channing discovered her talent for comedy in the fourth grade when she had to give a speech in the auditorium, her first time on a stage.
When her impressions of the principal drew laughs she later said: "I would have done anything just to have that warm, cozy feeling again."
Channing got a taste of professional theater during her third year at Bennington College in Vermont when the the William Morris Agency in New York sent her to see Marc Blitzstein.
He had already written "The Cradle Will Rock," a radical American musical for the '30s, and in the winter of 1940 was putting together another show, "No for an Answer." He needed someone for comedy relief. Channing was hired. She sang one song, "I'm Simply Fraught About You." The show ran for three days at the Mecca Temple in Manhattan, now City Center, and the Bennington girl decided to stick around.
But it wasn't until she moved to Los Angeles in 1948 that she was discovered. Marge Champion found her. Her husband , Gower Champion, later to direct and choreograph such Broadway hits as "Bye Bye Birdie" and "42nd Street," put Channing to work.
Her signature role will always be Dolly Gallagher Levi. "Hello, Dolly!" ran for 2,844 performances, becoming the longest-running musical in Broadway history at the time. Channing played 1,273 consecutive performances (including a road trip). The show grossed $25 million on Broadway and added another $15 million when Channing took it on a 25-city tour in 1978. To date, she has played Dolly more than 4,000 times.
|1967||Best Supporting Actress||Thoroughly Modern Millie||Nomination|