Goodbye, Dolly: Broadway Icon Carol Channing Takes Final Bow

We remember actress, singer, and Broadway icon Carol Channing.

Broadway star Carol Channing wearing an elegant necklace and sunglasses

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!

SUPPORT THE POST

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!

A young Carol Channing smiling in 1964
Channing in 1964. (Photo by Jim Marshall)

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.”

First page of the article, “Goodbye, Lorelei; Hello, Dolly!” as it was published in the Saturday Evening Post
Read “Goodbye, Lorelei; Hello, Dolly!” from the February 22, 1964 issue of the Post. Become a subscriber to gain access to all of the issues of The Saturday Evening Post dating back to 1821.

 

Feature Image Credit: Carol Channing in 1996. Photo by John Matthew Smith; Wikimedia Commons.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now

Comments

  1. Thanks for running the Post’s ’64 feature on Carol Channing, and the 1979 link of her signature role. Her longevity, living to age 97, can in large part be attributed to her disciplined, careful diet as a result of the allergy restrictions per this article.

    Her sunny disposition and positive outlook on life was another important factor. Ms. Channing was a great, all-around entertainer, worked with some of the best people in the business, and was born at the right time. Truly a treasured member of ‘The Grestest Generation”, like my parents were.

    They took my younger sister and I to see ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ in the summer of ’67, and we all had a fun Roaring 20’s blast as a family watching the film. We all loved Julie Andrews basically fresh off of ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ in a new, fun role. Mary Tyler Moore was great too, but Carol Channing was our NEW discovery that largely stole the show!

    In those days, once a movie was gone in a couple of weeks, it was GONE; so—–we saw the next showing of it that evening, and once more the next week. It was definitely our summer of love, for Carol Channing. May she rest in peace.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *