Stockard Channing Biography

Actress, Theater Actress, Film Actor/Film Actress, Film Actress, Television Actress (1944–)
Stockard Channing is an award-winning American actress best known for her roles in Grease (1978), Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and The West Wing (2002).


Stockard Channing is a film, theater and television actress who was born on February 13, 1944, in New York City. She memorably played Rizzo in the film adaptation of the musical Grease (1978). After a lull in her career, Channing made a comeback with her Oscar-nominated performance in the film Six Degrees of Separation (1993). Channing also won Emmys for roles in The West Wing (2002) and The Matthew Shepard Story (2002).


Actress. The daughter of a shipping magnate, Susan Williams Antonia Stockard was born on February 13, 1944 in New York City. Channing's acting career has been marked by incredible highs and lows. She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she majored in American history and literature and graduated summa cum laude in 1965. After graduation, she joined Boston's experimental Theater Company. Her first break came in a starring role in a Los Angeles production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, but true recognition didn't arrive until 1985, when she won a Tony for her Broadway performance in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

In 1971, Channing made her feature film debut in The Hospital. Her first major film role came two years later when she starred in The Fortune with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. And in 1978, she landed the memorable supporting role of Rizzo, one of the Pink Ladies in the film adaptation of the musical Grease. Throughout the 1970s, she continued to make appearances on television, and even starred in two short-lived sitcoms: Stockard Channing in Just Friends and The Stockard Channing Show.

By 1980, with her film career at a standstill, Channing turned her energies once again to theater. But she made her comeback in 1993 when she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance as a formidable Upper East Side matron in Six Degrees of Separation; she also won a Tony nomination when she performed the role on stage. Throughout the 1990s she continued working on stage and film, and joined the cast of NBC's political drama The West Wing in 1999. Her portrayal of First Lady Abby Bartlett earned her an Emmy award in 2002. That same year, she won an Emmy for her supporting role in the television movie The Matthew Shepard Story.

Channing has been married and divorced four times: to business executive Walter Channing Jr. from 1963 to 1967; to actor Paul Schmidt from 1970 to 1976; to screenwriter David Debin from 1976 to 1980; and to businessman David Rawle from 1980 to 1988. She is currently seeing gaffer and director of photography Daniel Gillham.

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