Saturday, July 07, 2012

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life

Just watched Carol Channing: Larger Than Life.
90+ and still going strong. Amazing.

She's a little frail (but doesn't use a cane)...still giving interviews, doing an autobiographical documentary, performing for Broadway Cares fundraiser, advocating for the arts in public schools, but most importantly, after being apart for about 70 years she reunited with her Junior High sweetheart and they spent the last 8 years of his life together (he died about 8 months ago, after the film had been released).

of course, one forgets that really her career was built on two big plays (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello Dolly!) and a movie (Thoroughly Modern Millie). that's her legacy. Of course she's done other things like talk shows and Vegas (i remember a television two part series of alice in wonderland where she played the White Queen and she appeared on the Kennedy Center Honors when they were blowing smoke up Jerry Herman's hiney), and Dolly she did for about 116 years (multiple thousands of performances, including a 1994 revival and tour). Meanwhile, she met Jackie O and every president from Johnson to Bush I, performed at the White House for Johnson, has a star on the palm springs walk of fame, has won three Tony Awards and was nominated for an Oscar. to have not done much variety, she's certainly endured and been well rewarded for she has done (and she's still doing "Carol")!

I've seen such living legends (in their 70s and 80s) as Angela Lansbury, Lily Tomlin, James Earl Jones, George Hamilton, Linda Lavin and Joan Rivers live on stage recently. It was nice to catch Carol "live" on film. Also saw Charles Nelson Reilly in his last stage performance which was filmed (saw it shortly after he died). On a mission to see the legends while they are still with us. Was devastated in high school when Ethel Merman died and i never got the chance to see her live. Can't let that happen with any of the other greats.

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