Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (DVD/Documentary/2012)
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The story of legendary performer Carol Channing's life is as colorful as the lipstick on her big, bright smile. In CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE, director Dori Berinstein (ShowBusiness, Gotta Dance), with co-writer Adam Zucker, captures the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old icon – both onstage and off...past and present.
The film is both an intimate love story and a rarefied journey inside Broadway's most glamorous era. It is, above all, a look at an inspiring, incomparable and always entertaining American legend.
About Ms. Channing:
Carol was born Jan 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. At just two weeks of age, her father's work took the family to San Francisco, where Carol was raised, schooled and eventually found work as a model. Through determination, hard work, and her family's support (not to mention a mandatory IQ test for which she scored one of the highest recorded results) Carol was able to attend Bennington College in Vermont that had one of the few existing arts programs in the country, majoring in drama and dance.
A recipient of the 1995 Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, Ms. Channing has been a star of international acclaim since a Time magazine cover story hailed her performance as Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes writing; "Perhaps once in a decade a nova explodes above the Great White Way with enough brilliance to re-illumine the whole gaudy legend of show business." Since her 1948 Broadway debut in Blitzstein's No For An Answer, her Broadway appearances include So Proudly We Hail, Let's Face It, Lend An Ear, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Show Girl, Pygmalion, The Millionairess, The Vamp, Four On A Garden, and Wonderful Town. In addition to receiving a special Tony Award in 1968, she won the Tony Award in 1964 for her legendary portrayal of Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Jacqueline Kennedy and her two children made their first public appearance after JFK's death, by seeing her perform in Hello, Dolly! and later visited her backstage. She has since played the role in over 5000 performances, without missing a single performance. She then toured with her own revue, Carol Channing and Her Ten Stout Hearted Men and critically acclaimed tours of Jerry's Girls and Legends, in which she co-starred with Mary Martin.
Ms. Channing's happiest film project was in the role of Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award. Other films include Paid In Full, The First Traveling Saleslady (giving new comer Clint Eastwood his first on screen kiss), Skidoo, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Archie & Mehitabel and Thumbelina.
Ms. Channing TV specials include Broadway at the Hollywood Bowl, Carol Channing's Los Angeles, Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway, George Burns - His Wit and Wisdom and to millions of children worldwide is best known as the White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Other television credits include popular game shows as What's My Line, I've Got a Secret, Password, and Hollywood Squares; variety shows such as The Dean Martin Show, The Red Skelton Show, The Milton Berle Show, Rowen & Martin's Laugh-In, The Carol Burnett Show, The Muppet Show, as well as many Tony and Grammy broadcasts. A partial list of Carol's Episodic work consist of Playhouse 90's, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., The Nanny, Touched by an Angel, The Drew Carey Show and Family Guy.
As one of the most easily recognized and highly imitated voices in the world, Carol's unique sound has been established as characters and narrative in both TV series and documentaries like JFK: The Day the Nation Cried, The Addam's Family (voice of Granny), Thumbelina, Free To Be You and Me, Space Ghost, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars. Ms. Channing also cut twenty children's albums of classic stories including Winnie The Pooh and Madeline.
Ms. Channing has recorded ten gold Albums and including the original cast album of Hello, Dolly! released in 1964. Ms. Channing has appeared in most every grand ballroom and concert hall in the country. Among her other acknowledgements is a Best Nightclub Act of the Year Award, Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award, the Oscar Hammerstein Award for lifetime achievement and the Julie Harris Lifetime Achievement Award from the Actors' Fund of America, but is most proud in the role of mother of Chan Lowe, who is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, who has the distinction of being a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
In 2003, the octogenarian released of her best selling memoirs, "Just Lucky I Guess" and married to her junior high school sweetheart, businessman Harry Kullijian (after a 70 year separation) and started touring world wide with her one woman show entitled "The First Eighty Years are the Hardest," after the very successful preview given to New York audiences that prompted the New York Times to say "Back Where She Belongs: Carol Channing Reminisces . . . The audience jumped to its feet more than once. We were watching a master performer" and Associated Press declared "The audience clearly was there to worship, and Channing did not disappoint." In 2004, Broadway's "first lady of musical comedy," received an honorary doctoral degree becoming Doctor Carol Channing from the California State University, Stanislaus Commencement (only the third Honorary Doctoral Degree given in CSU Stanislaus 45-year history). In 2008, Carol was inducted into the Smithsonian Institute in D.C., along with eight other legendary ladies of stage and screen.
Ms Channing released her new CD, “For Heaven Sake,” in early 2010, which includes many of the songs she came to know and love as a child with spirituals that she learned from her family. The CD features handpicked spirituals from Carol's childhood, taught to her by her father as well as hymns and rousing classic gospel tunes. In Oct, 2011, Carol releases a new patriotic CD titled “Carol Channing: True to the Red, White & Blue.”
The career of Carol Channing is varied and continuing. She performs with the gusto of a young aspiring actress. However, her heart will remain on stage even though she has recently committed her life to bring a refocus of the Arts in the public educational system offering scholarships, teaching lecturing and performances, hoping to engage the public support for education in the arts through the Dr. Channing/Kullijian Foundation for the Arts. To date, the foundation produced an Emmy nominated PSA supporting a resolution authored by Rep Jackie Speire, which passed the House and the Senate in Dec, 2010.