Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation mourns the loss of the great Carol Channing. In memory, the Foundation has released a series of drawings made throughout her illustrious career. Check them out below.

A Channing/Hirschfeld anecdote:

Channing claimed that Al had made her a star when she appeared in a musical revue, Lend An Earin 1949. In June, 1949, he did a composite of "Supporting Players Whose Number Stop Their Musical Shows" that included Channing in a cloche hat as "The Gladiola Girl". Channing was shocked, "That's my father," she said when she first saw it, yet she also realized that he had captured exactly what had been in her mind's eye when she performed. "[Al] knew just what I was thinking," She claimed that the producers and creative team for an upcoming musical adaptation by Jule Styne of the classic, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes saw the drawing and Anita Loos said "There's my Lorelei Lee."

"Al Hirschfeld did that for me. All of the sudden everybody came to see it. Well who's that? We better go see it if Al Hirschfeld thinks that much of it." Six months later she opened as the lead in the musical and played it for 740 performances. Al would draw her next two Broadway productions which were not hits, but it was Hello, Dolly! that would become her career defining role. As Al would later say about her last Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, when Channing first came down the stairs, "You know you are in safe hands." His drawing of Channing as Dolly Levi, with her victorian styled dress, plunging neckline, big eyes, two dots for a nose, open mouth, her big hair, and even larger headdress literally became the logo for the show, used on programs, posters, and advertisements of all sizes as the show took its Broadway success on the road and it subsequent revivals.

Photo Credit: The Al Hirschfeld Foundation

Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing
Carol Channing in Hello Dolly, 1964

Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing
Collage of Carol Channing in Hello Dolly, 1995

Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing
Carol Channing in Lorelei, 1974

Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing
Carol Channing in Hello Dolly, 1964

Photo Flash: Al Hirschfeld Mourns the Passing of Carol Channing
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Jack McCauley, Eric Brotherson, George S. Irving, Yvonne Adair, and Carol Channing, 1949

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