Q&A with Carol Channing for “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
February 2, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Carol Channing. She is indeed… “Larger Than Life”.
The American singer, actress and comedienne has received three Tony Awards (including a Life Achievement award), a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination and have won audiences over with her musical-comedy performance as Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and as Dolly Galagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!”.
She has earned the title of “First Lady of the American Musical Theatre” and at the age of 90, she continues to perform but also raising awareness and money for the arts in the public school system the Dr. Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts (www.ChanningArts.org).
A 2012 film titled “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life” was made in honor of Carol Channing and is now being distributed in theaters.
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.
The film directed by Dori Berinstein and is distributed by Entertainment One US features interviews with Carol Channing, Harry Kullijian, Lily Tomlin, Chita Rivera, Barbara Walters, Tyne Daly, Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis Diller, Loni Anderson, JoAnne Worley, and Bruce Vilanch.
Here is a Q&A featuring the “First Lady of the American Musical Theatre”, Carol Channing:
Q: What do you think of “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life?” Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
A: Oh, it’s wonderful. There have been many who have approached me over the years, asking to do a documentary. However, they discovered how much work it was going to be and it never happened. Oh, Dori Berinstein was so patient with me as the director. Sometimes my schedule would change at a moment’s notice and I’m sure it would completely mess up her plans. I don’t think most actors think in terms of looking at what we’ve already done, rather than what can I still do now. They don’t write their memoir until someone pushes them and it takes a very special person to go through all the archives … or junk, and I have a lot … to weed out the important things that the audience will want to know. I’ve always relied on those around me, knowing and caring about what they are doing to make me look good. It’s a team effort. You don’t take those people for granted. The really good ones truly love what they’re doing and believe in it. I was just lucky enough to have someone like Dori, who believed enough in me, to do it. And do it so well. There were times when I thought, isn’t it done yet? But, Dori wanted it to be perfect and I think she accomplished it … even if I wasn’t wearing my eyelashes in that one scene.
Q: Are there any roles you would have liked to have played, in either a recent or a classic musical or play? What are they, and why?
A: I don’t know that I’ve ever had time to think about what or whom I would like to have played. I would, of course, dearly loved to play Dolly in the movie version. I remember thinking, Oh Jerry’sMame would have been fun. But how could you top Angela’s performance? Although she and I did switch roles ever so briefly… oh years ago, during a tribute to Jerry when she came out as Dolly and I as Mame. Oh, that was fun!
Q: Which performers today do you particularly admire, and why?
A: I wish I could answer that with more knowledge. So many times I’m introduced to someone whose work I know I should know and I don’t. I’m always so embarrassed that I haven’t kept up better. I’m awfully impressed with Catherine Zeta Jones. It’s pronounced Zeeeeeta, you know … Oh, and Kristin Chenoweth. I’m impressed with her. There is also a young man I met from a show called “Glee”. I’ve never seen him on the show, but have worked with him on stage. Oh, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I remember his name. Anyway, him.
Q: Had you not become a performer, what field would have interested you?
A: Oh! Ahhhhhh, I don’t know. I’ve wanted to be a performer since I was 7. I imagine if I hadn’t, I’d have found something associated with the industry.
Q: You’ve led an extraordinary life, on stage and off – what continues to inspire and motivate you?
A: Others. When I see someone who’s passionately working on something, whether on stage or for the community, it inspires me. My motivation is always that next show, that next character or that next appearance. I’m always so sure that it will be my best performance or my greatest accomplishment.
Q: Imagine if they were real people who met each other, what would Lorelei Lee have thought of Dolly Gallagher Levi, and vice versa?
A: Isn’t that odd, no one has ever asked me that before. I imagine they would have gotten along wonderfully. They were both and are such strong personalities that I think off stage they would have been tremendous friends, but on stage …well, the poor audience would have difficulty focusing on just one of them. They would overpower each other.
For more information on “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life”, please visit:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/CarolChanningtheMovie
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”