Actress and singer Carol Channing died early Tuesday morning at the age of 97 at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed she died of natural causes.
Whether you knew her as Dolly, Lorelei, Muzzy or just Carol, Channing was a one-of-a-kind talent who captivated any audience. Her razor-sharp wit, gravelly voice and big, bright smile became the trademarks of a performer who originated some of Broadway’s most iconic roles throughout the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Channing continued to share her gifts on stage into her late 90s, enshrining her in a class of Broadway luminaries all her own.
In a statement, Boll said “it is with extreme heartache” that she announced “the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon.”
“I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped … or fell rather … into my life,” wrote Boll. “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.”
The daughter of prominent newspaper editor George Channing and his wife Adelaide, Carol was born January 31, 1921, in Seattle, Washington, but predominantly grew up in San Francisco. According to her 2002 memoir Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts, her father sent a wire to Detroit when she was born that read, “Carol came into the world singing.”
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