'Hello, Dolly!' star and legendary actress Carol Channing dies at 97

Carol Channing, a Broadway star and actress, has passed away at the age of 97. 

The beloved singer died on Tuesday, January 15, at around 12:31 a.m. Channing died at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. 

Authorities say that Channing's death results from natural causes. Her publicist, B Harlan Boll, spoke of the loss.

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A statement he released began: 

"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 continued: 

"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."

It ended with words of farewell: 

"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, born on January 31 in Seattle, Washington began work as a model when her family moved to San Francisco. She attended Vermont's Bennington College where she did drama and dance. 

Her first big role was as the star in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In 1995, she received the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award. Channing reportedly never missed a performance. 

The Hello, Dolly! touring company also gave a statement upon her death. It read: 

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Carol Channing. She was a 'Dolly' for the ages, and a true icon of the American Theater. Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight's performance in San Diego to her memory."

Channing will be remembered for her passion of live theater and her numerous shows. She is survived by her son Channing Lowe and a close family member, Sylvia Long.

In addition to the Tony, Channing also received a Golden Globe and a nomination in the Academy Awards. She has performed in the musical "Hello, Dolly!" over 5,000 times.

Her prevalence in the industry connected her to presidential figures like Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. She also expanded her repertoire to include "The Love Boat" and "The Addams Family."

Channing got married at the age of 82. She and her childhood sweetheart Karry Kullijian tied the knot in 2003. 

Back in August 2018, Hilary Clinton attended a Broadway performance of the famous "Hello, Dolly! show." The musical starred Bette Midler in the lead role. 

Midler was ecstatic to have Clinton present at the time. The feelings went the other way as well. So much so, Clinton joked she wouldn't wash a cheek that Midler had kissed. 

We send our condolences to the family and friends who are mourning the loss of Channing. 

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