Broadway star Carol Channing has passed away.
Early on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, actress Carol Channing died while at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 97 years old. The news was confirmed by her publicist, B. Harlan Boll, in a phone interview with The New York Times. Boll revealed that Channing had previously suffered two strokes in 2018.
In a statement obtained by People, Boll shared, “It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon – Miss Carol Channing.” He continued, “I admired her before I met her, and have loved her since the day she stepped … or fell rather … into my life. 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.”
Boll’s statement went on, “We supported each other, cried with each other, argued with each other, but always ended up laughing with each other. Saying good-bye is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I know that when I feel those uncontrollable urges to laugh at everything and/or nothing at all, it will be because she is with me, tickling my funny bone.”
According to People, Channing passed away due to natural causes.
Channing had a long and successful acting career, appearing on Broadway stages numerous times throughout the decades. As noted by E! News, Channing was best known for playing Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly! and Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway. However, she also tried her hand at big screen work, portraying the character Muzzy Van Hossmere in the 1958 Julie Andrews-led movie Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her film performance earned her a Golden Globe Award.
She also worked in television, appearing in programs like The Love Boat and lending her signature raspy voice to the likes of Where’s Waldo? and The Addams Family. She also memorably voiced the character of Ms. Fieldmouse in the 1994 animated movie Thumbelina.
In 1970, she became the first solo artist to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show. Over a decade later, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, and, in 1995, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
Throughout the years, Channing had been married four times. In 1941, she wed Theodore Naidish. They split in 1944, and Channing went on to marry Alexander Carson in 1953, though their relationship only lasted three years. In 1956, she tied the knot with Charles Lowe, but they later divorced in 1999. Her fourth and final marriage was to her “childhood sweetheart” Harry Kullijian, according to People. They married in 2003 when Channing was 82 years old. Unfortunately, Kullijian passed away in 2011.
Channing is survived by her son, Chan Lowe, whom she shared with her second husband.
Our thoughts are with Channing’s loved ones during this difficult time.