Carol Channing |Legendary Broadway Actress Dead at 97

Carol Channing, the bubbly, platinum blond singer-actress who collected Tony awards and Oscar nominations alike, has died at age 97. Her publicist, B. Harlan Boll, announced that Channing died of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. just after midnight on Tuesday.

Carol Channing (January 31, 1921-January 15, 2019)

“It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon, Miss Carol Channing,” Boll said in a statement to Broadway World. “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. 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.”

The Seattle-born Channing, who would have turned 98 on Jan. 31, was famed for her work on Broadway, winning a Best Actress Tony in 1964 for her portrayal of the lead character in Hello, Dolly! as well as a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 1995. Her performances in The Vamp (1956), Show Girl (1961) and Lorelei (1974) — the latter a reworking of her 1949 debut in the original run of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — were also nominated.

Channing also won praise for her work on the big screen, starring in films such as Skidoo and The First Traveling Sales Lady. Her role of Muzzy Van Hossmere in the 1967 musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie won her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Fans are paying tribute to the star on social media.

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