Broadway star Carol Channing dead at 97

Carol Channing, Broadway's 'Dolly,' dead at 97

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing".

Carol Channing was born on January 31, 1921, in Seattle, Washington. When his only child was 3 months old, he moved to San Francisco and worked as a writer for The Christian Science Monitor and as a lecturer.

Channing played Dolly Levi in "Hello Dolly!" winning the Tony in 1964.

Boll also confirmed Channing had died of natural causes. At 16, she learned that her father was multi-racial, with an African-American mother and a German father.

Channing told CNN's Larry King in 2002 that she was proud of her mixed heritage.

After a brief stint in college, Channing moved to NY, where she made her stage debut in Never Take No for an Answer and was an understudy in Let's Face It.

After a short stint at Bennington College in Vermont, she moved to NY in pursuit of stage stardom, dedicating her life to the craft.

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Channing famously beat out Barbra Streisand, who starred in Funny Girl, for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her starring turn. She led the show until 1951, and even returned to to the role of Lorelei in an adaptation of the show (1974's Lorelei).

Her 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. "Every bit of the production, from opening night to the last night of the tour".

Channing's outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably The First Traveling Saleslady with Ginger Rogers and Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews.

By the late '60s, Channing was a frequent variety show guest, including a visit to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In on NBC where she sang a duet with then-newcomer Goldie Hawn about the misconceptions about blondes called "Blondes Aren't Necessarily Dumb".

Channing remarried in 2003 to Harry Kullijian, her childhood sweetheart from 70 years before. Channing was married four times and has one son. He died in 2011.

She was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award for her stage work in 1995, and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.

After two early marriages which ended in divorce, in 1956 she Wednesday television producer Charles Lowe, who adopted Channing's son and supervised every aspect of her business affairs and appearances.

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