Carol Channing, legendary Broadway actress, dies at 97

Carol Channing, legendary Broadway actress, dies at 97

As such, we look back at five fascinating facts about the celebrated life of the great Carol Channing.

Glittering Broadway icon Carol Channing, who starred in hit musicals including Hello, Dolly! and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, died Tuesday, her publicist said.

In a statement released to Broadway World, her publicist said: "It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon - Miss Carol Channing".

Channing, a Seattle native born on January 31, 1921, got her start in the 1949 Broadway play "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" alongside Yvonne Adair and Rex Evans.

"Audiences expect and demand I sing these songs", she once told a reporter of her signature tunes, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and "Hello Dolly". She called the book "Just Lucky, I Guess". Channing worked steadily for years, but her breakthrough came via 1964's Hello, Dolly! But she "hoped" it was true.

The actress was born in Seattle to George Channing, a newspaper editor, and his wife, Adelaide.

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

A Broadway veteran with stage roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hello, Dolly! She played the role of Lorelei Lee.

"Everybody was saying, 'She's not 5-foot-2, eyes of blue".

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Channing credited her father with her dream to become an entertainer. "But Anita (Loos) stuck to it".

She went on to receive a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Others who have played the role include Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Ethel Merman, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers and Barbra Streisand, who played Dolly in a 1969 film version directed by Gene Kelly.

Channing's storied career earned her a lifetime achievement award at the 1995 Tony Awards.

Carol was married four times, her first husband was Theodore Naidish, whom she married when she was 20 in 1941. In fact, in an interview conducted toward the end of 2018 with TheSpectrum.com, just a few months ago, Channing herself noted that, "It always feels a little odd to gather with friends for that objective".

Lowe died after a stroke in 1999.

In 2003, Channing married her junior high school sweetheart, Harry Kullijian, a California developer, who contacted Channing after learning that she had written fondly about him in her autobiography. He died of an aneurism in 2011.

Like anyone with a lengthy show business career, Channing had her foibles.