Growing up in an era where a drop of African American blood could ruin your career, Carol kept her heritage a secret until 2002. In her autobiography she wrote that her mother told her when she was 16 that her father was at least half black. The remarkably pale actress gave no hint that she had any African American blood in her and went on to have a very prolific Broadway career.
Carol Channing is a Broadway star with a raspy, often imitated voice and extravagant style who has been described as Ethel Merman, "only more so." She began performing in grade school, with spot-on impressions of her teachers that landed young Channing in the principal's office. In high school she competed on the debating team, and won a statewide speaking contest with her presentation on "What America Means to Me".