Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Carol Channing: Larger Than Life": Uncovering Broadway's Blonde 

Wednesday, Feb 1 2012
Comments

"There was this creature with huge eyes and an enormous red mouth," recalls Bruce Vilanch on first seeing Carol Channing on TV — an impression shared by anyone whose introduction to the actress were her frequent appearances on Hollywood Squares or The Love Boat. Dori Berinstein's desultory, fawning profile of the nonagenarian performer devotes many of its padded 88 minutes to Channing's greatest success, playing the title yenta in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway in the 1960s. Providing some scaffolding is the belter's relationship with Harry Kullijian, whom she wed in 2003, reuniting 70 years after they were middle-school sweethearts in San Francisco. (Kullijian, a charming, dapper former California city councilman, died on December 26.) The remaining scenes consist of standard testimonials: A group of male dancers from the 1994 revival of Hello, Dolly! gush about the time their idol took them to see Interview with the Vampire (and bought them snacks!); Barbara Walters avers, "I never heard anyone say that she was temperamental"; Loni Anderson, with apparently no connection to Channing, attests, "The whole blonde thing was just fascinating to me." Frail but still voluble, the sandpaper-voiced ham is ever-grateful for attention; at a dinky book fair, she tells one fan, who gives her a photo of him in Channing drag, "That's an honor that you got all dressed up like me."

About The Author

Melissa Anderson

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed