Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at age 97

Written by on January 29, 2019

Maria Therese Agcopra Agcopra – Fourth Estate Contributor

Rancho Mirage, CA, United States (4E) – Broadway legend Carol Channing has passed away at age 97, as announced by her publicist Harlan Boll to CNN on Tuesday. Boll released a statement that Channing died due to natural causes in her home at Rancho Mirage, California and had two strokes last year.

Channing is famous for playing Dolly Gallagher in the classic hit Broadway play, “Hello Dolly” in 1964 based on the book by Michael Stewart with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Dolly is a matchmaker who travels to New York to find a match for millionaire Horace Vandergelder. The actress performed the role for a total of 5,000 times on stage as reported by CNBC.

“Hello Dolly” is an enduring classic having been revived four times, on Broadway and internationally. The play earned ten Tony Awards including Best Musical and has been reiterated on screen starring Barbra Streisand as Dolly. The film version was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three.

Channing began her acting career in Broadway plays such as ‘Never Take No For An Answer’ and ‘Let’s Face It’. She even nabbed the role of the showgirl Lorelie Lee in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ whose famously associated to Marilyn Monroe who starred in the film version. But ‘Hello Dolly’ was what catapulted her career; earning her a Tony Award for Best Musical Actress a year after the play was released. Although that wasn’t the first time she was nominated for the category as she was recognized twice before her win in plays such as ‘The Vamp’ and ‘Showgirl’.

She also transitioned into movies which her performance in the film ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie earned her a Golden Globe award and scored an Academy Award nomination for it. She has also won a Grammy through the soundtrack of ‘Hello Dolly’.

Throughout her long lasting career, she was inducted in the American Theatre Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1981.

Her personal life was full of color as she was married four times: to writer Theodore Nadish, a footballer, Alex Carson, Charles Lowe and Harry Kullijian. She is survived by one son, cartoonist Channing Carson.

Channing would have been another year older in January 31.

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