Good god almighty. Miss Carol Channing turned 90 years old Monday!
When I saw her perform at Feinstein's at the Regency in NYC in October 2005 in "The First 80 Years Are The Hardest," my best friend Strele and I were treated to a full dinner on the house, with pumpkin & crab bisque, pan-seared wild salmon with Peruvian potatoes, a warm apple turnover and free-flowing cocktails—but Channing as the main course, natch, superseded the posh meal.
Channing was sharp as shit, delivering a monologue full of decadent memories that barely left time to recover from one guffaw to the next, while singing "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," "Before The Parade Passes By" and "Hello Dolly."
The show was enough of an event to be reviewed by The New York Times' Stephen Holden, who wrote, "Her signature ear-to-ear grin never wavered. Ms. Channing's blend of unbridled optimism and ferocious vitality is still a primal show business force field. At 84, she personifies the adult child as natural showoff and clown, brimming with curiosity and humor, accentuating the positive."
And then, reaching beyond the surreal, Strele and I met Channing backstage, which was like touching god and sniffing death simultaneously. To add to the merriment, her pals Michele Lee and Celeste Holm were present and partaking in the group therapy.
Sadly, Celeste is 93, Michele is 68 and Strele is the one who's slept on to Jesus. Imagine.