Carol Channing died at 12:31 am on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019, at home in Rancho Mirage, CA of natural causes.
B Harlan Boll, Channing’s publicist, released the following statement:
It is with extreme heartache, that I have to announce the passing of an original Industry Pioneer, Legend and Icon – Miss Carol Channing. 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.
Carol was born Jan 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. At just two weeks of age, her father’s work took the family to San Francisco, where Carol was raised, schooled and eventually found work as a model.
Through determination, hard work, and her family’s support (not to mention a mandatory IQ test for which she scored one of the highest recorded results), Carol was able to attend Bennington College in Vermont that had one of the few existing arts programs in the country, majoring in drama and dance.
A recipient of the 1995 Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, Ms. Channing has been a star of international acclaim since a Time magazine cover story hailed her performance as Lorelei Lee in “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” writing; “Perhaps once in a decade a nova explodes above the Great White Way with enough brilliance to re-illumine the whole gaudy legend of show business.”
Since her 1948 Broadway debut in Blitzstein’s “No For An Answer,” her Broadway appearances have included “So Proudly We Hail,” “Let’s Face It,” “Lend An Ear,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Show Girl,” “Pygmalion,” “The Millionairess,” “The Vamp,” “Four On A Garden,” and “Wonderful Town.” In addition to receiving a special Tony Award in 1968, she won the Tony Award in 1964 for her legendary portrayal of Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly!”