On Saturday, November 15th, 2008, Universal Hilton and Tower Ballroom played host to a distinguished panel of toasters to celebrate the extraordinary career of Broadway legend and icon-Carol Channing.
The gala sponsored by The Petco Foundation is a highly anticipated annual Celebration of Caring benefit for ACTORS and OTHERS for ANIMALS (A&O). KGIL Radio personality P.J. Ochlan announced the events co-chairs B. Harlan Böll and Karen Cadle before A&O's President and Emcee, JoAnne Worley, took the stage and introduced the star-studded panel that included Florence Henderson, Lily Tomlin, Tippi Hedren, Henry Gibson, Mary Jo Catlett, Carole Cook, Peter Marshall, Rip Taylor, Bruce Vilanch and Harry Kullijian. In a show of support for Miss Channing's first public appearance since the accident two months earlier that fractured her leg, all the panelist's arrived in various stages of faux physical ailments (ie ... crutches, arm sling, walker, cane, eye patches, IV's, etc.).
COMMENTS FROM THE PODIUM:
1.) Rip Taylor: "In honor of Carol, I had my hairpiece spayed and neutered just for the event."
2.) Tippi Hedren recalled how excited she was when Carol invited her to lunch in Palm Springs with "a very big movie star ... it turned out to be Cheeta from the Tarzan Movies."
3.) Florence Henderson gave glowing testimony to "Dr." Carol Channing's dedication to bringing the arts to the public school system and later responded to JoAnne Worley's remark on Maureen McCormick's book: "I never flashed the Brady kids and with regards to my being a closeted sexpot ... I was never in the closet about it."
4.) Bruce Vilanch to Tippi Hedren about Florence Henderson: "Now, there's a cougar that needs rehabilitation," then jokingly welcomed everyone "to this No on Prop 8 rally" adding that "the only difference between gay and straight weddings is that in a gay wedding, both participants care about the ceremony."
5.) Carole Cook: "I'm not a well woman. It doesn't matter, darlings - we're all circling the drain waiting for the big suck!"
6.) Peter Marshall: "If it wasn't for girl dancers I'd be a very rich man today. I opened for so many artists over the years. Sometimes after you were done, you just went home. With Carol you stayed through the whole show just to see what she would do tonight."
7.) Lily Tomlin on Carol's famous "Ceclia Cisson" character: "I still revel in the times when artists could still make fun of the handicapped."
8.) Henry Gibson recited his poem "The Eyelash" in dedication to Miss Channing.
8.) Mary Jo Catlett (having co-starred with Miss Channing as Ernestina in the original Broadway production of Jerry Herman's HELLO DOLLY!) recalled "I was so star stuck ... Every day Carol would tell me who was going to be in the audience."
9.) Carol's husband, Harry Kullijian, said a few words about the need for arts programs in the public school system and their newly created foundation for the arts (http://www.drchanningfoundation.org/).
Finally, Carol stood up, took the mic and in her unmistakable iconish voice, told the audience that she had been "Healed (by the love from the audience) - it's like a Christian Science service in Lourdes!"
Among the other guests were Loretta Swit (A&O's first Vice President), Leonard Maltin, Gary Owen, Ruta Lee, Abby Dalton, Jamie Farr, Jackie Joseph, Jane Kean, Ted Lange, Chuck McCann, Peggy Rea, Ann Rutherford, Dick Van Patton, Bill Hays, Ed Asner, Jack Riley, Linda Breakstone, Christine Devine, Beth Grant, George Pennachio, Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Earl Holloman and.
The largest fundraising event of the year for A&O raises the much-needed funds to continue their services and programs. They are proud to announce that the 2008 Award of Caring will be presented to one of America's top entrepreneurs, humanitarians and animal lovers-Ms. Paula Kent Meehan. Paula Kent Meehan paved the way for the emerging phenomenon of women entrepreneurs when she launched her business career by founding a small California-based company which she name Redken Laboratories. Paula Kent Meehan was named one of forty "Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World" in 2002; she was one of Entrepreneurial Woman magazine's "Eight Most Powerful Woman Business Owners"; and she was also selected as one of the "Top Fifty Women Business Owners" by Working Woman magazine. Today she was honored for her philanthropic efforts as a regular contributor to numerous charities that help children, animals and women including Actors & Others for Animals.
Actors and Others for Animals was founded in 1971 to promote the humane treatment of animals and to improve their quality of life while fostering an awareness and appreciation of the importance they have in our lives. Then as now, celebrity members volunteer to use their media appeal to help educate and shape public awareness about animals in crisis. A&O is a broad-based community action group serving five Southern California. counties. Services are available to low and/or fixed income individuals, with an emphasis on the elderly poor and/or handicapped. Passionately believing that pet overpopulation is the greatest breeder of animal cruelty because it sanctions and promotes the unacceptable idea that animals are disposable objects, A&O's core mission is to prevent unwanted births through sterilization. A&O offers financial help to those who qualify and is the leading humane organization in the So California area providing financial assistance. Other A&O programs provide financial assistance for emergency medical procedures; increase public awareness of responsible pet care through humane education; provide resource information regarding feral cat care; distribute pet food; and provide pet assisted therapy to patients in long-term care facilities. For more information call 818-755-5080 or go to www.actorsandothers.com.
Photo Credits: Matthew Fried
Carol Channing and husband Harry Kullijian
PJ Ochlan with Carol Channing
Paula Kent Meehan
Carole Cook, Carol Channing and JoAnne Worley
JoAnne Worley, Bruce Vilanch and Henry Gibson
Lily Tomlin, JoAnne Worley, Henry Gibson and Gary Owens
Jamie Farr, Carol Channing and Ted Lange
Karen Cadle, Jackie Joseph and B. Harlan Boll
JoAnne Worley and Carol Channing
Lily Tomlin, Bruce Vilanch, Peter Marshal, Florence Henderson, Carole Cook, Carol Channing, Mary Jo Catlett, JoAnne Worley, Rip Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Harry Kullijian.