Iconic broadway actress Carol Channing dies age 97

16 January, 2019, 21:55 | Author: Ethel Goodwin
  • Charming Channing

Three-time Tony award winning actress Bernadette Peters, who portrayed Channing's famous role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the U.S. tour of the musical previous year, said that the stage veteran "was show business and love personified".

And more small-screen stars we lost in 2018.

"Doesn't matter what the name of the character, it's always Carol", explained one commentator in Channing's 2012 documentary, Larger Than Life.

"She was a "Dolly" for the ages, and a true icon of the American Theatre. Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight's performance in San Diego to her memory", the company of "Hello, Dolly" said in a statement.

Carol was born in Seattle, Washington in 1921 and went on to make her Broadway debut in 1948 in No For An Answer.

It was a description that also fit her, which she put down to her lifelong faith in Christian Science.

Channing was the hit of "Lend an Ear" in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to NY.




Channing was not the immediate choice to play Dolly, a matchmaker who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife.

Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce - to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. Nobody ever says, 'Get me a Carol Channing type. But Channing's wild and kooky turn as the White Queen has become a bit of a cult favorite over the years, especially for her inspired performance of the song, "Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday".

After a brief stint in college, Channing moved to NY, where she made her stage debut in "Never Take No for an Answer" and was an understudy in "Let's Face It". The actress is best known for starring in the 1949 production Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Broadway continued to be her showcase, and she had another big hit in 1964 as Dolly Gallagher Levi in "Hello Dolly!".

The news was confirmed in a statement by her publicist B Harlan Boll to Broadway World.

On screen she was a Golden Globe victor and Oscar nominee for her performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Channing was married four times and has one son. He died of an aneurism in 2011. Her looks could have made her the younger sister of Danny La Rue, the actor who in 1984 played Mrs Levi in the West End.

She received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995, performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in 1970, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for Hello, Dolly! in 2002.

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