Legendary actress and singer Carol Channing dies at 97

Junie Sihlangu
Jan 15, 2019
09:38 A.M.
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Early on Tuesday, much-loved actress and singer Carol Channing passed away at the age of 97. She died at her home in Rancho Mirage, California.


According to her longtime publicist B. Harlan Boll, the star passed away from natural causes. Her exact time of death was reported as 12:31 a.m.

Carol Channing’s publicist B Harlan Boll released this statement confirming her passing:

“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.”


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. The statement further read:

“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.”

Boll concluded:

“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.”


Channing was well-known for her Broadway roles throughout the 40s to the 60s. She loved the stage so much that she continued featuring into her late 90s.

The actress was the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor George Channing and his wife Adelaide. She was born January 31, 1921, in Seattle, and was a few weeks shy of turning 98.


The star grew up in San Francisco. She wrote a memoir in 2002 called “Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts” where she explained that her father had sent a wire to Detroit when she was born that read, “Carol came into the world singing.”

Channing was introduced to the theater while out with her mother to distribute Christian Science Monitor issues at entertainment venues. In 1941, she made her stage debut in New York City in “Never Take No for an Answer.”


However, her career was properly launched in 1949, when she was cast as Lorelei Lee in the musical “Gentleman Prefer Blondes.” Many will remember her singing the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” on Broadway.

She continued to amaze fans on stage in “Wonderful Town” (1953) and “The Vamp” (1955). However, in 1964 she stood out again in her most famous role as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the musical “Hello, Dolly!”


Her fame took her to film and television roles, but she was always a theater person. In her career, she won a Tony Award and a Golden Globe Award for her roles.

In 1967, she was cast as Muzzy Van Hossmere in the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” She is best remembered for the now iconic line, “Raspberries.”


The actress and singer had two failed marriages to writer Theodore Naidish and Canadian football player Alex Carson. With the athlete, she had one son, Channing Carson.

In 1995, Channing married her manager and publicist Charles Lowe with their marriage lasting for 42 years. Lowe passed away in 1999 before their divorce was finalized.


The actress married for a fourth time to childhood sweetheart Harry Kullijian in 2003 and he died eight years later. A 2011 documentary called “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life” was created about the star.

Channing is survived by her son and a close family member, Sylvia Long. In lieu of flowers, a tribute gift/donation can be made to the Carol Channing Theater at Lowell High School or the McCallum Theatre.

The high school’s address is 1101 Eucalyptus Dr., San Francisco, California 94132 and their contact number is 415 759-3066. The theater is on 73000 Fred Waring Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260 and their website is

In 1981, Channing was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. She received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995.