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18 Photos of Carol Channing and Her Many LGB Friends
Carol Channing, 1949, in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."
Blonde, brash, and amusing Carol Channing enchanted Broadway audiences in the musical version of Anita Loos's comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Here, as shown in the play, she, at left, is making a quick review of her scanty French in the Ritz Hotel in Paris; at right, she is singing "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Dec. 15, 1949.
Carol Channing certainly ran with the most talented people in show biz. Many of them were LGB like Tallulah Bankhead and Jerry Herman. Others simply had a lifetime of lavender rumors, like Mary Martin and Sandy Dennis. Enjoy this look back at the early days of Carol and friends.
Carol Channing performs in her first nightclub appearance in Las Vegas, on July 9, 1957. Channing wears an $11.85 costume as she impersonates bisexual superstar Marlene Dietrich, who recently appeared on a neighboring stage in a $20,000 gown.
Cyril Ritchard with Tallulah Bankhead and Carol Channing
Actor Cyril Ritchard, who slayed as the nelly Captain Hook in "Peter Pan," jumped the birthday gun on Carol Channing, left, and bisexual personality and actress Tallulah Bankhead hugs the actresses at a party he gave in their honor at midnight in New York, Jan. 29, 1959. Both gals were born on January 31. Carol in 1921 in Seattle; Tallulah in 1903 at Huntsville, Ala.
Sir Alec Guinness, Sandy Dennis, Carol Channing, and Bert Lahr
Tony winners, from left, gay actor Sir Alec Guinness, Sandy Dennis, Carol Channing, and Bert Lahr pose with their Antoinette Perry medallions at the 18th Annual Tony Awards ceremony at the New York Hilton in New York City, May 24, 1964. Sir Alec won best actor in a dramatic role for Dylan; Dennis won best actress in a dramatic role for Any Wednesday; Channing won best actress in a musical for Hello, Dolly!; and Lahr won best actor in a musical for Foxy.
A Toast with Gower Champion and David Burns
Carol is toasted by bisexual choreographer and directer Gower Champion, left, and actor David Burns at an opening night party for Hello Dolly! at the St. James Theater in New York City, Jan. 16, 1964. Champion is director and choreographer of the musical that stars Channing and Burns.
"Hello Dolly" power trio: Thornton Wilder, Carol Channing, with David Merrick
Gay playwright Thornton Wilder, left, calls on Carol Channing in her dressing room following the performance of Hello, Dolly! in New York, May 13, 1965. Wilder is the author of The Matchmaker on which the musical is based. At right is David Merrick, producer of the show.
Jerry Herman, Carol Channing and Sammy Cahn
Gay composer and lyricist (Hello, Dolly!) Jerry Herman, Carol Channing, and Sammy Cahn in New York City, 1982.
Channing and Geoffrey Holder
Channing pours a glass of her own mineral water for bisexual performer and choreographer Geoffrey Holder at a cast party for Hello, Dolly! in New York, March 14, 1978. Holder is choreographer of another Broadway show, Timbuktu.
With Rock Hudson and Liz Taylor
Actress Elizabeth Taylor flanked by Rock Hudson backstage visiting Carol Channing on August 11, 1982 in New York.
Carol hits a high note as she sits on the piano during rehearsals for the comedy musical Lorelei in New York City on Jan. 22, 1973. Looking on are, from left, lyricists Adolph Green, Betty Comden; authors Gail Parent and Kenny Solms. Composer Jule Styne accompanies on the piano.
Carol Dines with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne
Carol currently playing in Hello, Dolly!, dines with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne at the Pump Room in Chicago, May 1, 1966. The Lunts had been in Chicago to attend the Diamond Jubilee ball of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night. Noel Coward based his menage a trois play Design for Living on his relationship with the Lunts.
With Mary Martin and Ginger Rogers
Carol, center, joins Mary Martin, left, and Ginger Rogers, right, for a photograph at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., during a party for the cast and crew of the television series The Love Boat, April 1, 1985.
Carol Channing and Robert Morse
Carol Channing and gay actor Robert Morse clown during a rehearsal of Sugar Babies in New York, July 18, 1977, for the road company production which will open in Dallas on August 11 at the Dallas State Fair.
"Thoroughly Modern Millie"
Dancing and playing her way through a Gay Twenties number, Carol rehearses a scene for Thoroughly Modern Millie, filmed in Hollywood, Nov. 17, 1966. Carol co-stars in the movie. In the scene, she does a bit on various instruments as she moves through the band. Here Carol dances on the xylophone to wind up the scene. Razzzberries!
With Sir John Gielgud
Gay Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud, left, joins Carol in a tap dance during taping of a variety program in New York City in July 1970.
Carol with ballet superstar Rudolph Nureyev
Lorelei star Carol Channing, hostess at a special screening of MGM's That's Entertainment! at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York, chats with one of her guests, gay ballet superstar Rudolph Nureyev, May 1974.
Andy Warhol and Carol Channing in 1978.