Carol Channing dead: Legendary Broadway actress dies aged 97

She died of natural causes, her publicist announced

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 15 January 2019 13:10
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Carol Channing in Alice In Wonderland 1985

Legendary Broadway actor Carol Channing has died, her longtime publicist has announced. She died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage home in California, aged 97.

Channing was best known for playing Lorelei Lee and Dolly Levi in the musicals Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly!, resepectively.

In a statement, Channing’s publicist Harlan Boll said: “It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon – Miss Carol Channing.

“I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped... or fell rather... into my life. It is so very hard to see the final curtain lower on a woman who has been a daily part of my life for more than a third of it.

“We supported each other, cried with each other, argued with each other, but always ended up laughing with each other. 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.”

Channings first role on Broadway saw her star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes alongside Yvonne Adair and Rex Evans in 1949, performing the first version of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend".

She was later nominated for three Tony awards - in 1956 for The Vamp, 1961 for Show Girl and 1974 for Lorelei - and won another for Hello, Dolly! in 1964.

Channing also appeared on the silver screen, winning the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe and being nominated for the equivalent Oscar for her performance in 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie.

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