STOCKARD CHANNING Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Stockard Channing                                                                   
Birth name: Susan Antonia Williams Stockard                                               
Born: 13 February 1944 New York City, New York                                             
Stockard Channing (born February 13, 1944) is an Academy Award- and Golden Globe           
Award-nominated, three time Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-winning American             
stage, film and television actress. She is known for her portrayal of First Lady           
Abbey Bartlet in the NBC television series The West Wing; for playing teenager             
Betty Rizzo in the film Grease; and for her role in both the stage and screen             
versions of Six Degrees of Separation.                                                     
Channing was born Susan Antonia Williams Stockard in New York City, New York,             
the daughter of Mary Alice (nee English), who came from a large Brooklyn-based             
Irish Catholic family, and Lester Napier Stockard, a shipping magnate and                 
business executive. She grew up on the Upper East Side. While growing up                   
she spent a great deal of time at the local butcher's shop and would often help           
pack meat and prepare it for delivery.Later, she inherited her father's fortune           
when he died in 1950. She is an alumna of The Madeira School, a Virginia                   
boarding school for girls. Channing then studied history and literature at                 
Radcliffe College, and graduated in 1965. She married her first husband, Walter           
Channing, when she was 19, and kept the amalgamated name, "Stockard Channing,"             
after they divorced.                                                                       
Channing started her acting career with the experimental Theatre Company of               
Boston and eventually performed in the group's off-Broadway production of                 
Adaptation/Next. In 1971, she made her Broadway debut in Two Gentlemen of Verona           
-- The Musical, working with playwright John Guare.                                       
Channing made her television debut on Sesame Street in the role of the The                 
Number Painter's victim. She landed her first lead role in the 1973 television             
movie The Girl Most Likely To..., a black comedy written by Joan Rivers.                   
After a few small parts in feature films, Channing co-starred with Warren Beatty           
and Jack Nicholson in Mike Nichols' The Fortune (1975). In 1978, at the age of             
33, she took on the role of high school teenager Betty Rizzo in the hit musical           
Grease. Her performance earned her the People's Choice Awards for Favorite                 
Motion Picture Supporting Actress. That year, she also played Peter Falk's                 
unpretentious but determined secretary in Neil Simon's film The Cheap Detective.           
Channing starred in two short-lived sitcoms on CBS in 1979 and 1980: Stockard             
Channing in Just Friends and The Stockard Channing Show. Her Hollywood career             
faltered after these failures, so Channing returned to her theatre roots. After           
a run as the female lead in the Broadway show, They're Playing Our Song (1980-81),         
she landed the part of the mother in the 1982 New Haven production of Peter               
Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. She reprised the role on Broadway and             
won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.                                       
Channing continued her successful return to the stage by teaming up again with             
playwright John Guare. She received Tony nominations for her performances in his           
plays, The House of Blue Leaves (1986) and Six Degrees of Separation (1990) (for           
which she also won an Obie). Channing also garnered recognition for her work in           
television during this time. She was nominated for an Emmy for the CBS                     
miniseries Echoes in the Darkness (1987) and won a CableACE Award for the Harvey           
Fierstein-scripted Tidy Endings (HBO, 1988).                                               
Channing's film career was re-energized in 1993 when she reprised her lead role           
as an Upper East Side matron in the film version of Six Degrees of Separation.             
She was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for her performance. She           
then made several films in quick succession: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything,           
Julie Newmar (with Patrick Swayze) and Smoke (with Harvey Keitel) (both 1995); a           
cameo appearance in The First Wives Club, Up Close and Personal (with Robert               
Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer), and Moll Flanders (all 1996).                             
Channing kept busy with film, television and stage roles throughout the late               
1990s. She starred in the USA Network film An Unexpected Family in 1996 and               
in its sequel, An Unexpected Life, in 1998. She was nominated for an Independent           
Spirit Award as Best Supporting Female for her performance as one-half of an               
infertile couple in The Baby Dance (also 1998). On stage, she performed at                 
Lincoln Center in Tom Stoppard's Hapgood (1995) and in the 1997 revival of                 
Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes. During this period, Channing even dabbled in           
voice-over work, voicing the character Barbara Gordon in the animated series,             
Batman Beyond, and appearing on an episode of King of the Hill.                           
Channing was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress three times in the             
1990s: in 1991, for Six Degrees of Separation; in 1992, for Four Baboons Adoring           
the Sun; and in 1999, for The Lion in Winter.                                             
In 1999, Channing took on the role of First Lady Abbey Bartlet in the NBC                 
television series The West Wing. She was a recurring guest star for the show's             
first two seasons; she became a regular cast member in 2001. In the seventh and           
final season of The West Wing (2005-2006), Channing appeared in only six                   
episodes (including the series finale) because she was co-starring (with Henry             
Winkler) in the CBS sitcom Out of Practice at the same time. Out of Practice was           
cancelled by CBS after one season.                                                         
Channing received several awards in 2002. She won the Emmy Award for Outstanding           
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on The West Wing. That same             
year, she also won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a                 
Miniseries or a Movie and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress in a             
Television Movie or Miniseries for her portrayal of Judy Sheppard in The Matthew           
Shepard Story, a docudrama about Matthew Shepard's life and murder. Finally,               
Channing received the 2002 London Film Critics Circle Award (ALFS) for Best               
Actress of the Year for her role in the film The Business of Strangers.                   
In 2005, Channing won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a                 
Children/Youth/Family Special for Jack, a Showtime television movie about a               
young man struggling to understand why his father left the family for another