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The Incredible Carol Channing

This was a time before photoshop and digital cameras.

I was set to use a Mamiya 645 medium format camera and a single strobe to photograph her. Carol and her new husband Harry Killijian were waiting for me at their favorite hotel in Manhattan's Midtown-West district. As he lovingly looked on, one could sense the true bond between her and Harry. They were high school sweethearts who reunited after all these years.

Carol was dressed entirely in black. A shriek came from the bedroom as the photo assistant and I were setting up the lights. Ms. Channing was on the floor, yelling, "WHERE ARE MY EYELASHES!?" in her unmistakable, iconic voice. They had apparently dropped out of one eye. (We went ahead and shot it anyhow, then sketched them in on the print!)

Carol was a seasoned pro who struck the target every time, as evidenced by the photo! The inclusion of the original HELLO DOLLY was a dream come true for me! She had brought along an album in the final shot.

Carol made a huge impact as Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and in films like "Thoroughly Modern Millie," for which she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category, and many others, in addition to her Tony Award-winning role as Dolly Levi.

Meeting Carol was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


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