Carol Channing, a Broadway icon, has died at age 97. She died in her California home on January 15, 2019.
Carol Channing was born on January 31, 1921, in Seattle, Washington. At 2 weeks old, Carol moved with her family to San Francisco, where she lived until she was 16. At that point, she moved to Vermont to attend Bennington College.
In 1941, Carol made her Broadway debut in Let’s Face It! In 1949, she made a name for herself in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Carol starred as Lorelei Lee and sang the iconic song, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
It wasn’t until 1964 that Carol became nationally renowned. That’s the year that she starred as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! and won a Tony Award for best actress in a musical.
And Carol wasn’t just an incredible stage performer — she also had some big movie and television roles. She appeared in Skidoo, Thoroughly Modern Millie, What’s My Line?, Sesame Street, The Nanny, and other well-known films and TV shows.
Throughout the rest of her life, Carol remained a performer. She continued to stay active well into her 80s and 90s.
In response to the news of Carol’s death, many celebrities have taken to social media to reflect on her impact.
George Takei wrote, “One of Broadway’s greatest lights, Carol Channing, has passed on. She rejoins the heavens as a new diamond in the night sky, and as she famously sang, they are a girl’s best friend. Goodbye and farewell, forever our Dolly.”
Sandra Bernhard tweeted, “I am so sad just lost my incredible original inspiration #carolchanning I saw her in Hello Dolly when I was 8 and she changed my DNA love you lady forever one of the greatest entertainers of all times.”
Carol is survived by her son, Channing Carson.