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Channing Chase


1939 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Channing Chase Obituary
June 25, 1939 - October 6, 2018 Channing Chase unexpectedly passed away in her sleep on October 6th, although she had been in excellent health. Born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, she was a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where she earned a B.A. degree. From there, she went directly to Boston and made her first stage appearance at the renowned Charles Playhouse. But New York beckoned and off she went. It didn't take long to become New York's blonde television commercial queen. During her lifespan, Channing appeared in 126 national television commercials. Among them, Toyota, United Airlines, McDonald's, Progressive Insurance, Discover Credit Cards, Glade and First Nationwide Bank. Her combined talents portraying both comedic and sophisticated dramatic roles, quickly led Channing to appearances at New York's famous LaMaMa Theatre, and then to a leading comedic role in David Merrick's national tour of the Neil Simon/Burt Bacharach musical "Promises, Promises." Yes, she even sang and danced. Channing received offers from Hollywood, the next step in her acting career, and so she relocated in 1982. She became well known to television audiences for her sophisticated, upper class roles in "ER," "Time of Your Life," "Murphy Brown," "Home Improvement," "Family Matters" and "General Hospital." In contrast, Channing appeared in "Cold Case" as the alcoholic, uncaring mother. But, her recurring guest lead role in "Mad Men" as Dot Campbell, the wealthy blueblood whose son Pete and she shared a mutual hatred, created quite a stir in the acting community. In her 3rd recurring year in "Mad Men," Channing was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series." The time had come to return to the stage, and so Channing joined the newly formed Pacific Resident Theatre (now in Venice) in 1985, where she became a Founding Member, making her debut in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." She appeared in over 12 productions including Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance," "Hedda Gabler," "Ivanov" and "Summer and Smoke." In addition, Channing appeared in major roles in "Tartuffe" at A Noise Within and "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" at the Pasadena Playhouse. In late 1984, attending yoga class, Channing's spirit, gentleness, beauty and lovely smile attracted Dan Saxon who had built a 25-year reputation in the fashion industry as president of Saxon Associates Advertising. He was about to open the Saxon-Lee Art Gallery to complement his longtime interest in contemporary art. His large, new gallery emphasized art by Chicanos, soon gained a national reputation. Channing and Dan married soon after, and until her untimely death, they led a rich life, travelled world-wide and often entertained their many friends in the acting and art communities in their Los Feliz Spanish Colonial hillside home just beneath the Griffith Park Observatory. Channing had a 59-year career devoted to the acting profession. She was a breath of fresh air, well-respected, gracious, the epitome of elegance. We shall all miss her terribly. Survived by her sister Lorna Collins of Santa Fe, New Mexico, brother John Waraska of Newbury, Massachusetts, a host of nieces and nephews, her devoted husband Dan Saxon, his daughters Leslie Saxon West of Ukiah, California, Marilyn Groves of Balboa Island, California, and their children. Donations to honor Channing Chase's spirit can be made to Pacific Resident Theatre, P.O. Box 568, Venice, California 90294.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 7 to Dec. 16, 2018
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