Broadway star, Golden Globe winner, and Oscar-nominated actress and comedian Carol Channing has died at 97. In a career that began in the 1940s and never slowed, Channing established herself as a multi-talented presence with a distinctive voice. The Saturday Evening Post interviewed Channing in 1964, just as she began her run in her most iconic Broadway role, Hello, Dolly!
Channing first appeared on Broadway in 1949, starring in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Tony nominations in 1956 (for The Vamp) and 1961 (Show Girl) followed; she would win for that 1964 run in Dolly, and receive another nomination in 1974 for Lorelei. In 1967, Channing won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for her turn as Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Channing also became a fixture on TV, appearing on countless specials, game shows, and talk shows, including appearances with the Muppets of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. She even performed at the first Super Bowl half-time show in 1970.
Later in her career, Channing was covered in achievement honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, an honorary doctorate from California State University, Stanislaus, an induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre. Channing was married four times. She had one son, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist Chan Lowe.
Carol Channing performing Hello, Dolly! In 1979.
In the 1964 article, her former lawyer said of her, “She does have that extraordinary way of looking at you with those large, saucer-like eyes. A lot of people have interpreted that to be vacuousness, but seldom has a vacuity been filled with so much substance.”
Feature Image Credit: Carol Channing in 1996. Photo by John Matthew Smith; Wikimedia Commons.
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