Carol Channing, a Broadway legend known for starring in stage productions of Gentleman Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly!, has died at the age of 97. Channing died Tuesday inside her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of natural causes, her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed in a statement.
Channing made her stage debut in 1941 in Never Take No for an Answer and became a star in 1949 after portraying Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, singing the famous Broadway tune, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Channing also starred in Wonderful Town and The Vamp before taking on her iconic role as Dolly Gallagher Levi in 1964 in Hello, Dolly!. The actress continued to reprise her role in the musical for more than 5,000 performances until 1995.
In 1956 Channing married her manager, former TV producer Charles Franklin Lowe, who adopted her son Channing Lowe by professional football player Alexander Carson, Channing’s second husband (novelist Theodore Naidish had been her first). Husband Lowe died in 1999. Channing married her school sweetheart of 70 years earlier, Harry Kullijian in May 2003; he died in December 2011.
She is survived by her son, Channing Lowe and close family member, Sylvia Long.
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