"The biggest Broadway star of the 1950s" Credit: BIOGRAPHY
On January 15th 2018, Carol Channing's publicist made the announcement of the actor's passing. She died of natural causes at the age of 97.
Channing was most well known for her roles on Broadway in the 50s and 60s, popularizing classics like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Hello Dolly." Channing never starred in the film versions of these plays as she lost the rolls to Marilyn Monroe and Barbara Streisand respectively. Though to Channing's credit, that is some unbelievably tough competition.
Carol would go on to star in the 1967 movie musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and receive an Academy Award nomination for her work in the film. She also took home a Tony for "Hello Dolly" and would go on to have a successful career in TV and movies;by the end of her career she had 28 theatrical credits, and 35 film and TV credits.
In her 2003 memoir entitled "Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts," Carol famously revealed that she believed she had African-American ancestry. Basing this knowledge off of old documents and a comment her mother made in her youth. Channing was vocally proud of her heritage and would retroactively accredit her diverse background to her success, stating "No white woman can do it like I did"
Channing has also been a longtime ally to the LGBT community. She credits much of her success to queer people, she once said “The gay community is responsible for so much of my success, and I love them. It's a mutual love affair, really. They make the better audiences too, because they laugh often and loudly."
Her death has had a wide reach; fans and peers alike are paying their respects to the late actress. Fellow Broadway legend, Bette Midler remembered her talented peer fondly: "She was completely original, and there will never be another. Blonde, [six foot] tall and utterly hilarious, she was a legend. My condolences to the world; and to those knew her ... and those who never got the chance."
Many people consider Channing the last of a generation of great stage actors, and with her passing the world feels the gravity of the loss. Carol Channing harkens back to a simpler time in acting, before people could market themselves on social media. Her success is a testament to the power of working hard while having fun, and never was there soul that combined the two as naturally as Carol Channing.