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Carol Channing: “The gay community is responsible for so much of my success, and I love them.” Broadway legend Carol Channing will be 90 next month and she is still going strong.

I saw her at an event in November and she was very much in the now, working to support the arts in schools and enjoying the company of her husband to whom she is devoted.

She sat down for an exclusive interview with dot429 and I wanted to share some excerpts with you:

With one of the longest and most successful careers in show business, what are your keys to success?

Carol Channing: Always remember that the next job is going to be your best.  That’s one of the reasons I never missed a performance.  It wasn’t that I was all fire healthy all the time.  In fact,  I would just get sicker thinking about that.  I knew that trips had been planned, babysitters had been hired, and disappointing them made me sicker.  I also knew that skipping a show meant you probably would have given your best performance, and you missed it.

As an international icon and a gay icon, what are your views on the current “state of affairs” in the LGBT community (specifically gay marriage)?

Carol Channing: I honestly don’t know.  I never cared if someone was gay or not.  If a friend was gay? Well, that’s all there was to it.  The gay community is responsible for so much of my success, and I love them.  It’s a mutual love affair, really.  They make the better audiences too, because they laugh often and loudly.  Applause is obligatory, but laughter is a reward, and gay audiences reward me often.  Years ago, I was made their Queen in San Francisco, which is so much better than legend or icon.  I was told that on that day, there wasn’t a blonde wig to be found in stores.  Isn’t that wonderful.

What do you believe are the primary contributing factors that make you an acclaimed gay icon?

Carol Channing:
I can’t think of myself as an icon or legend.  The moment you do, then you’re not.  There are so many talented people that have been called a “gay icon” that have no similarities at all.  So I don’t know that I can answer that.   There will always be certain individuals that a minority will put on pedestals, but for different reasons.  The gay community has had Sophie Tucker, Ethel Merman, Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna.  The list is long, really. The only thing I can think of that they have in common is a desire to lift up the audience.



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