Cover image for Just lucky I guess : memoir of sorts
Just lucky I guess : memoir of sorts
Channing, Carol.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

Physical Description:
262 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PN2287.C494 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN2287.C494 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Well, hello, Dolly! Carol Channing, one of America's most beloved and enduring theatrical legends, takes on her most challenging role yet: as the author of this funny, ribald, and moving memoir. Known across the nation for her portrayal of the irresistible Dolly Levi, the title character of the Broadway musical phenomenon, Hello, Dolly!, Carol Channing is perhaps the only living theatrical star whose name brings a smile to the face of people in virtually every city and town across America and Canada, to say nothing of London, Melbourne, and Sydney. Her performance as the droll and leggy Lorelei Lee in the Broadway version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes made her a star and launched a career that has spanned over fifty years and has included a number of Broadway plays, many television appearances, and two movies, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Capping them all, of course, was her Tony award-winning signature performance as the irrepressible Dolly.Conversational in style, and written entirely by Miss Channing, this star-studded chronicle gives you the feeling that you are sitting down with this fascinating woman and having her delight you with tales from her long and amazing life, both personal and professional. You'll be invited behind the scenes for stories featuring an all-star cast of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Tallulah Bankhead, Gower Champion, Clint Eastwood, Julie Andrews, Marlene Dietrich, David Merrick, Noël Coward, Al Pacino, and Yul Brynner. And you'll learn of the not-so-glamorous times, too, as Miss Channing reveals her theatrical triumphs, her heritage, and her winning battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, Carol Channing -- the real star of this story -- demonstrates with wit and candor how she kept up her spirits and forged fearlessly ahead. From the first page to its triumphant conclusion -- and including many never-before-seen photographs -- Just Lucky I Guess is perhaps Miss Carol Channing's most engaging performance yet.

Author Notes

Carol Elaine Channing was born in Seattle, Washington on January 31, 1921. She studied drama and dance at Bennington College. She was best known for her Broadway performances as the gold-digging Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly! She won a Tony Award for best actress in a musical for Hello, Dolly! She also appeared on Broadway in Wonderful Town, The Vamp, and Show Girl. She received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 1995. She starred in the 1967 movie Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and won a Golden Globe for her performance. Her autobiography, Just Lucky I Guess, was published in 2002. She died on January 15, 2019 at the age of 97.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Broadway legend Channing recounts her magical life in this fascinating but unfocused and loosely structured memoir. Widely known for her portrayal of Dolly Levi, the title character from the popular Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!, and for her performance as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Channing has spent more than five decades in show business. From her childhood as the daughter of Christian Scientists to her college years and later theatrical triumphs, she spins a mesmerizing, albeit rambling, tale. During the course of her long and interesting life, Channing has had occasion to encounter and develop relationships with many show business luminaries. Such stars as Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Yul Brynner, and Marlene Dietrich make frequent and amusing cameos in her life story. Channing also touches on her personal life, detailing her battle with ovarian cancer and her various crushes on her handsome leading men, although she skimps on specifics on her personal struggle with her failed marriages. Broadway babies and showbiz aficionados are sure to get a kick out of this rollicking tale. --Kathleen Hughes

Publisher's Weekly Review

Broadway's original Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi recounts her charmed life, making her success sound like the perfectly normal outcome for a nearly six-foot-tall girl who used to deliver the Christian Science Monitor to San Francisco back stages. A veritable platter of patter, her memoir is laced with off-the-cuff openings like "Now, do you want to know..." and "Let me tell you..." Famous names are not dropped as much as unavoidably run into as Channing-now 81-charts the events of her life, such as the process of mounting Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with composer Jule Styne, lyricist Leo Robin, writer Anita Loos, actress Tallulah "Talloo" Bankhead, composer Richard Rodgers and, as consultants, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. As much as it is a memoir, Channing's book is also a valediction to her old friends, many of whom, like George Burns and Loretta Young, are gone. As she writes of their qualities, she straightforwardly tells readers what she learned from or enjoyed about them. Louis Armstrong was kind, Jimmy Durante generous and Barbra Streisand admirable, despite having peeved Channing by "kidnapping" her "baby"-the role of Dolly for the movie version of Hello, Dolly! (which flopped, Channing happily adds). The mix of plainness, largesse and purpose doesn't make for the most scintillating memoir (there's not much about her marriages, for example), but that seems true to the persona and perhaps to the person herself. Chatty and colorful, it's like having Channing as the only guest on an afternoon talk show-a big treat for the right person. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Mel Berger. (Oct. 15) Forecast: A lengthy piece by Liz Smith in the New York Post earlier this summer started the buzz going on this title. It's been picked up by the Stage & Screen Book Club as a main selection, and the InsightOut Book Club has chosen it as an alternate. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Just like having a coffee break with the star. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.