“I did everything that I ever thought was marvelous.”
It is a universal sentiment: the desire to do the things you enjoy in life while there is still time left. As you get older, you may feel life, and time, passing you by. If you have deep motivation, you will join the parade before it is too late.
When Carol Channing was young, she fell in love with the theater. So she went to New York City to seek not just fame and fortune, but those Broadway roles that would make her feel alive. She found them.
She started in 1941, and in 1949 she achieved her big success when she played Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
She continued on with Broadway success until she hit the biggest Broadway success of all, Dolly Levi. “Hello Dolly” is the musical version of “The Matchmaker” with music and lyrics by the prolific Broadway songwriter, Jerry Herman.
The widow Dolly was the marriage matchmaker who is asked to find a match for the unmarried, “half millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. Eventually, Dolly advises her dead husband, Ephram, that it is time to move on with her life and find her own match. She sets her sights on Horace before it is too late:
Channing found success in movies and television as well as Broadway, but the theater was her greatest love. “It’s very healing. Everybody has their safest place on earth and mine is center stage.”
In 1974 more success came with the musical Lorelei which ran 320 performances, based on the character Channing created in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The showed toured the country for almost a year before hitting the Broadway stage. Along the way the show was being rewritten and fixed up for the Great White Way and fans turned out to see Carol.
The parade never passed Channing by. She picked up Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award nomination and legions of fans who stayed with her to the end. She performed her most iconic role, Dolly Levi, over 5000 times through the original run, three revivals, a West End run and national tours. She never tired of the matchmaker who decided to make her own match.
Sources include: “Broadway Legend Carol Channing Dead at 97,” msn.com, January 15, 2019.