PHOTO GALLERY: A Celebration of Carol Channing

Carol Channing turns 97 today! The irrepressible leading lady has starred in some of Tams-Witmark’s most popular shows, from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES to HELLO, DOLLY! We’ve looked through our archives and selected some of Ms. Channing’s best moments. Happy Birthday, Carol! You’re lookin’ swell.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

Carol was a sensation as Southern belle Lorelei Lee in this irreverent and tuneful adaptation of the Anita Loos novel. Carol introduced “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and the song would forever be identified with her.

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Yvonne Adair & Carol Channing in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

Carol Channing photos musicals

With Rex Evans in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Jule Styne at the recording session for GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1949)

WONDERFUL TOWN (1954)

Carol replaced Rosalind Russell in the role of Ruth Sherwood, belting out Bernstein/Comden & Green hits like “One Hundred Easy Ways” and “Conga!”

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

WONDERFUL TOWN (1954)

Visiting ON THE TOWN (1954)

Carol’s pals Helen Gallagher and Bill Hayes appeared in a summer stock production of ON THE TOWN at Highland Park Music Theatre, just outside Chicago, IL. Carol couldn’t resist hamming it up with the two stars.

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Carol with Helen Gallagher & Bill Hayes (1954)

Visiting DO RE MI (1961)

Carol wasn’t in the cast of this Jule Styne musical about an eager but hapless entrepreneur in the record business. Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker headlined the show– but Carol and friends dropped by for a visit.

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Nancy Walker, George Burns, Blossom Seeley, Carol Channing, and Phil Silvers (1961)

HELLO, DOLLY! (1964)

Carol made her biggest splash as Dolly Levi Gallagher in Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. Ms. Channing won the 1964 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and the show shattered box office records, running an astounding 2,844 performances. 

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With David Burns in HELLO, DOLLY! (1964)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

HELLO, DOLLY! (1964)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

HELLO, DOLLY! (1964)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Charles Nelson Reilly and (the back end of) Jerry Dodge in HELLO, DOLLY! (1964)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Ginger Rogers, as Ms. Rogers assumed the role of Dolly (1966)

HELLO, DOLLY! Recording Session (1964)

The cast album to HELLO, DOLLY! was a smash hit, thanks to Jerry Herman’s ebullient score and Carol’s irrepressible energy. Just look at how Jerry gazes at her!

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Carol Channing Photos MusicalsCarol Channing Photos Musicals

HELLO, DOLLY! at The White House (1967)

On January 18,1967, Carol and the touring cast of HELLO, DOLLY! paid a visit to the White House, where they performed for President Lyndon B. Johnson and FLOTUS Lady Bird Johnson. The event, which honored Vice President Hubert Humphrey, also commemorated the show’s fourth year on Broadway.

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and the cast and creative team of HELLO, DOLLY! (1967)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

LBJ & CC (1967)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Leading Ladies (1965)

In February of 1965, Carol and some other leading ladies of Broadway gathered at the Rainbow Room for a party celebrating first daughter Lynda Bird Johnson. From left, they are: Beatrice Lillie (HIGH SPIRITS), Sally Ann Howes (WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?), Barbra Streisand (FUNNY GIRL), Lynda Bird Johnson, and Ms. Channing (HELLO, DOLLY!).

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

Broadway Leading Ladies with the First Daughter (1965)

LORELEI (1974)

Carol returned to Broadway as Lorelei Lee in this 1974 musical comedy, subtitled GENTLEMEN STILL PREFER BLONDES. A mix of new and old songs, the show proved an ideal vehicle for Carol to show off her comic chops and vocal charms.

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Robert Fitch & John Mineo in LORELEI (1974)

Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Tamara Long and Dody Goodman in LORELEI (1974)

 Carol Channing Photos Musicals

With Brooks Morton in LORELEI (1974)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAROL!

Thank you, Carol Channing, for being an inspiration to generations of theatre audiences and performers! We are all so grateful for your exuberance, your optimism, and your brilliant comic timing. Happy 97th Birthday!