Carol Channing at a performance celebrating her 90th birthday (2011.) (Photo: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock)
Star of stage and screen, and most beloved for her iconic portrayal of Dolly Levi in the original Hello, Dolly!, Carol Channing died of natural causes at the age of 97.
Ms. Channing made her Broadway debut in 1941 as an understudy in the musical Let’s Face It!, featuring music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Over the years she appeared on Broadway 12 times, three of which were in Hello, Dolly! – a role she originated in 1964 under the direction of the legendary Gower Champion.
Ethel Merman and Mary Martin turned down the role that would become an icon for Ms. Channing, who Mr. Merrick discovered while she was playing a nightclub act in Minneapolis. Of 5,000 performances, she only missed half of one (due to food poisoning).
The national tour of Hello, Dolly! starring Betty Buckley released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing. She was a ‘Dolly’ for the ages and a true icon of the American Theater. Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight’s performance in San Diego to her memory.”
Here’s a look at some of Ms. Channing’s most celebrated performances:
Carol Channing singing the title song from Hello, Dolly!
Carol Channing singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Carol Channing in the television version of Alice in Wonderland.
A 2011 interview with Carol Channing.