Award-winning American actress Stockard Channing was born on February 13, 1944 in New York City. She has been lauded and nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and she has won multiple Emmy Awards and a Tony award for her long-running career throughout television, stage and film. The daughter of a shipping magnate, she was raised in the Big Apple’s Upper East Side and attended both the Chapin School and the Madeira School. After taking up literature and history at Radcliffe College and graduating in 1965, she went on to pursue her acting career. One of her best-known roles is her performance as Betty Rizzo in the musical movie Grease.
Stockard Channing began her career with Boston’s experimental Theatre Company, and soon got a role in the group’s off-Broadway production of Adaptation/Next. Her Broadway debut came in 1971, when she worked with playwright John Guare in Two Gentlemen of Verona – The Musical. Her first role on television was in the series Sesame Street. She garnered a leading role in the television movie The Girl Most Likely To… in 1973, working with Joan Rivers on the black comedy. Two years later, Channing was given a role in the feature film The Fortune, opposite Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson. She was also in the Neil Simon film The Cheap Detective. She had two short-lived shows on the CBS network, Stockard Channing in Just Friends and The Stockard Channing Show. This caused her career in Hollywood to suffer, so she returned to the theater. She won a 1985 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway production of Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. In 1990, she won an Obie award for her role in the play Six Degrees of Separation. Channing was once again catapulted to film fame when she reprised her role in the film version of Six Degrees of Separation, earning Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. She then made several films, To Wong Foo, Smoke, and Julie Newmar, while making cameo appearances in The First Wives Club, Moll Flanders and Up Close and Personal. She also did voice over work for animated series like Batman Beyond and King of the Hill. In 1999, Stockard Channing became known for portraying First Lady Abbey Bartlet in the Emmy Award-winning political drama series The West Wing. She became a regular cast member in 2001, earning her more Emmy Awards. She was also seen on the short-lived series Out of Practice, as well as the 2005 romantic comedy film Must Love Dogs. In 2007, Channing was cast as the lead in the comedy Sparkle.
(Photo courtesy of David Rose)