Aha Moment: Sandra Bernhard on Carol Channing

Studio 360
Sandra Bernhard

The phrase "larger than life" was made for performerSandra Bernhard. She can be cartoonishly tough and irreverent, but also intensely sincere. Her breakout role came in Martin Scorsese'sThe King of Comedy(1983), in which she plays a deranged fan who helps kidnap a talk show host, played by Jerry Lewis.

Turns out Bernhard has her own (healthy) obsession with a famous performer. When she saw a touring production of Hello, Dolly!starringCarol Channing, "right from the get-go, I assumed I should be a part of the cast. 'Why am I not on stage here, playing at least one of the supporting roles?'" For one reason, because Bernhard was only eight at the time. But sitting there in the audience, "I felt I was home and where I belonged with these bigger-than-life characters." Bernhard set out to have a career that would make her idol proud.

(Originally aired October 28, 2011)

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Video: Carol Channing inHello, Dolly!(1979)