Carol Channing starred as Lorelei Lee in 1949's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and in addition starred in an array of Broadway productions, winning a Tony for her landmark role in Hello, Dolly!
It also happens to be one of our favorites talents here at the Casa du Borghese, and today the fabulous Ms. Channing turns 95!
She was born in Seattle, Washington. When she left home to attend Bennington College, her mother informed her that her father, a journalist whom she had believed was born in Rhode Island, was actually a light-complected 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. As an actress, Channing’s 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...and we adore her.
"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.”
“Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.”
"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."
“The First 80 Years Are the Hardest"
"I'm terribly shy, but of course no one believes me. Come to think of it, neither would I."
Carol Channing....January 31, 1921