Legendary Broadway performer Carol Channing, who enjoyed a long career on stage & screen has died, aged 97.
She died yesterday of natural causes at her home in California.
“It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon — Miss Carol Channing,” publicist B. Harlan Boll said.
“Saying good-bye is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I know that when I feel those uncontrollable urges to laugh at everything and/or nothing at all, it will be because she is with me, tickling my funny bone.”
Channing was 19 years old when she scored her first stage role in No for an Answer in 1941 before moving to Broadway, landing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1949. She performed as Lorelei for 740 performances but missing out on the film role to Marilyn Monroe.
She won a Tony Award for her performance as matchmaker Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!, again losing the role when it was adapted for the screen.
Such was her brassy, unique persona, she would find success in Thoroughly Modern Millie alongside Julie Andrews & Mary Tyler Moore. Yet other film roles would be minor in Skidoo and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
There were lots of TV appearances such as What’s My Line?, The Love Boat, The Addams Family (animated series), Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Burke’s Law, Touched by an Angel, Family Guy, The Drew Carey Show, Where’s Wally, and The George Burns Show.
In 1966 she had a Desi Arnaz-directed sitcom, The Carol Channing Show but it went unsold.
In 1995 Channing received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement.