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Stockard Channing Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (18)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 February 1944New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameSusan Williams Antonia Stockard
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

One of Broadway and Hollywood's cleverer talents who tends to shine a smart, cynical light on her surroundings, Stockard Channing was born Susan Stockard on February 13, 1944, in New York City, to a Catholic family, with English and Irish ancestry. The daughter of Lester Napier Stockard, a well-to-do shipping executive, and Mary Alice (née English) Stockard, her father died when she was 16 and left her a sizable estate. She grew up in Brooklyn and attended the prolific Chapin School in NYC, then later attended the Madeira School, a Virginia boarding school for girls. She studied at Radcliffe College where she majored in both literature and history before graduating summa cum laude in 1965. In 1964, at the age of 20, she married the first of four husbands, Walter Channing Jr., a businessman whose last name she kept as part of her own stage moniker after their divorce four years later.

Stockard made her stage debut in a production of "The Investigation" at the experimental Theatre Company of Boston in 1966. She went on to play a number of offbeat roles with the company. She eventually migrated to New York where she took her first Broadway bow as a chorus member and understudy in the musical version of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" in 1971. Two years later she would take over the prime role of Julia in the L.A. national company. Other theater roles during this time included "Adaptation/Next" (1970) "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1970), "Play Strindberg" (1971) and "No Hard Feelings" (1973).

Somewhat plaintive yet unique-looking, the dark-haired actress began first appearing in pictures with small parts in the dark comedy The Hospital (1971) and the edgy Barbra Streisand fantasy-drama Up the Sandbox (1972). Taking on the top female lead as an heiress and potential victim of shysters Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty in Mike Nichols' comedy The Fortune (1975), the film, despite its male star power, would not become the star-making hit for Channing as initially hoped and Channing. Her next two films (The Big Bus (1976) and Sweet Revenge (1976)) faded away even quicker. Earlier, however, she hit a home with the TV-movie The Girl Most Likely to... (1973), a clever black comedy written by Joan Rivers wherein Stockard played a former ugly duckling-turned-beauty (à la plastic surgery) who knocks off the men who formerly mistreated her. This was Channing at her smart and cynical best, traits that would carry her far in Hollywood.

At the age of 33(!), she was handed the feisty role of high school teen Betty Rizzo in the box-office film version of the hit musical Grease (1978) starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. While long in the tooth for such a role (as were others), Stockard's sly performance earned her the People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Supporting Actress. This popular film clinched her place as a top-ranking contender.

As a result, she was handed two sitcom vehicles within a year on CBS: Stockard Channing in Just Friends (1979), as a newly-separated wife starting life anew in another city (L.A.), and The Stockard Channing Show (1980), which again cast her as a divorced lady trying to find herself again in L.A. Neither made her a TV star. Both failed to catch on and lasted but a few months. Stalled at a critical juncture in her career, Stockard decided to return to her first love -- the theater. With "Vanities", "Absurd Person Singular" and "As You Like It" (as Rosalind) already on her resume, she earned fine notices on Broadway with the musical "They're Playing Our Song" replacing Lucie Arnaz in 1980, then garnered rave reviews in the part of the mother of a developmentally disabled child in the New Haven production of Peter Nichols' "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" in 1982. She repeated her role on Broadway a few years later (the title now shortened to "Joe Egg") and copped the 1985 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Subsequent Tony nominations came her way for her offbeat work in "The House of Blue Leaves" (1986); "Six Degrees of Separation" (1991) (for which she also won an Off-Broadway Obie), "Four Baboons Adoring the Sun" (1992); and for her Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter" in 1999.

Award-worthy projects came her way on TV as well. Nominated for an Emmy for the CBS miniseries Echoes in the Darkness (1987), she also won a CableACE Award for her work in Tidy Endings (1988). In film, she received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations when her stage triumph, Six Degrees of Separation (1993), was turned into a film and also received the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in the film _Business of Strangers, The (2001).

In 1999, Stockard became a recurring member of the cast of The West Wing (1999) as First Lady Abigail Bartlet. Audiences were so drawn to her shrewd, classy character that producers wisely started featuring her regularly into the third season. In 2002 she won both Emmy and SAG awards for this role, as well as a second Emmy that same year for her supporting turn as Judy Sheppard in The Matthew Shepard Story (2002), a docudrama about the gay-bashing murder of young Matthew Shepard. Stockard thought she finally found sitcom success with the series Out of Practice (2005) and was even Emmy-nominated for her role as a sharp-tongued but caring doctor. As luck would have it, she again couldn't find a core audience and the show lasted but a mere season.

Stockard continues to excel in sly, worldly roles that combine a dark wit with an even darker cynical edge. True to form, she recently completed a picture aptly titled Multiple Sarcasms (2010). Divorced four times, including one to writer/producer David Debin, she has no children. She has been in a long-term relationship with cinematographer Daniel Gillham since 1988. A sister, Lesly Stockard Smith, became mayor of Palm Beach in 2000.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (4)

David Lefferts Rawle (18 December 1982 - 1988) (divorced)
David Debin (20 December 1976 - 1980) (divorced)
Paul Schmidt (24 December 1969 - 3 September 1976) (divorced)
Walter Channing Jr. (18 June 1964 - 1967) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Takes on sly, worldly roles that combine a dark wit with an even darker cynical edge.

Trivia (11)

Won a Tony in 1985 for "A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg".
Lives with Daniel Gillham, 1990-?
Graduated from Harvard University (specifically, its then female-only Radcliffe College), with a BA in history and literature.
Auditioned for the role of Lois Lane in Superman (1978), but lost to Margot Kidder.
Played a character half her age in Grease (1978).
Won Broadway's 1985 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for "A Day In the Death of Joe Egg." This was followed with five other Tony nominations: as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play), in 1986 for "The House of Blue Leaves;" and as Best Actress (Play), in 1991 for "Six Degrees of Separation," a role she recreated in an Oscar-nominated performance in the film version of the same title,Six Degrees of Separation (1993), in 1992 for "Four Baboons Adoring the Sun," in 1999 for a revival of "A Lion in Winter," playing Eleanor of Aquitaine, and in 2009 for Best Performance for a Leading Actress in a Musical for the revival of "Pal Joey.".
Provides the voice over for the film about the history of Pearl Harbor shown at the USS Arizona Memorial for the National Park Service.
Graduated high school from The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia
In December of 2004, she was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.
Studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
New York City and Florida [April 2010]

Personal Quotes (18)

I lead a very boring, normal life.
I hate parties. I really don't like public events. I hate dressing up. I am the worst celebrity ever!
Acting is such a bizarre way of life. Unless you're really passionate about it, you should give it up. Don't beat yourself up.
Casting can be heartbreaking. Dealing with the disappointment is the hardest part.
I think the end of last year when we were aware of that transition was for everyone in their own way kind of bittersweet, but it's also what the show's about, one administration ends and another begins.
Well, I mean she's of a certain biological age but she didn't have to go around with fat patches and stuff.
Oh, my only - if I had one frustration in being on 'West Wing' is I wasn't on it enough, because I was in and out.
I'm rather uncomfortable with celebrity, to be honest.
I'm kind of spoiled, but the great thing about life is that you never know what's around the corner.
I want to go working with good people on something that's good, because otherwise it's a big waste of time. I don't have that much time.
It would be interesting if this sitcom works, so I could be doing one thing all the time instead of going back and forth between all this different media which I sort of thrive on, I'm a bit of a moving target in that way.
I think that's the phenomenon of our time is that a lot of women keep themselves in good shape but that there's not a lot of accommodation or people out there to connect with and the technology.
I couldn't do it at all. I was never really good at it, but I can't imagine what it can be like as a fortunate person not having to deal with it. I mean, people of all ages, not just my age, 25, 35, all the way down the line.
You don't want to play a character you can't inhabit or commit to fully.
When I was younger I thought I was an artist, and inspiration would just come to me.
You're talking to someone who has been married to various people for the last 40 years of her life. Dating is not really something familiar. I've never really been a dater.
These things have a life of there own and never existed when I was growing up certainly worrying when one would get made. It's kind of amazing how that one movie kept living through all these years.
It's funny, I had dinner with my dear friend John Spencer last night and I'm not in the first episode, but he's at the beginning of it and he was telling me about it and I thought this sounds very hot because I think this is definitely the last year of West Wing.

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