Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam for Broadway Legend Carol Channing, Dead at 97

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CHICAGO – Carol Channing was always, seemingly, full of sunshine. With her unique voice and “back row” Broadway singing chops, the eternal ingenue sparkled through a remarkable seven decade show business career. Ms. Channing died on January 15th, 2019, at the age of 97, at her home in Rancho Mirage, California.

Carol Elaine Channing was born in Seattle, Washington. She attended Bennington College at age 16, with her mother telling her beforehand that her father – who passed as white – was actually bi-racial (her grandmother was African American). Undeterred by this information (she has said in her bio and interviews that she was proud of her heritage), she went to the New York stage and first understudied for Eve Arden at age 19. She went on to originate the role of Lorelei on stage in “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” (Marilyn Monroe played the role in film), and introduced the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

Carol Channing in Chicago, August of 1994
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Working steadily on stage throughout the 1950s and ‘60s – including a stint with George Burns doing the Gracie Allen role when Gracie took ill – Channing got her biggest role to date in 1964 by originating Dolly Levi in the Broadway musical “Hello Dolly!,” and rose to national prominence. Her career in film was lesser than stage, but she did win a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress (and an Oscar nomination) opposite Julie Andrews in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967). On television, she was a go-to guest star in the age of variety shows (including “The Muppet Show”), and continued to work into her seventh decade in show business.

Ms. Channing was married four times, and has one child, Pulitzer Prize nominated cartoonist Chan Lowe (last name of her third husband). Famously, her fourth husband was an old Junior High sweeheart, Harry Kullijian (who died in 2011), and he rekindled their romance while Channing was recording the audio for her 2003 bio, “Just Lucky l Guess: A Memoir of Sorts.” She passed away of natural causes.

Chicago bestowed their highest stage honor to Channing in 1966, the Sarah Siddons Award, so it stands to reason photographer Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com took this Exclusive Photo of Carol Channing in 1994 when she appeared again in “Hello Dolly!” at the Schubert Theatre.

The source for this article was Wikipedia.com. Carol Channing, Broadway icon, 1921-2019

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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