Early this morning, B. Harlan Boll, publicist for Carol Channing, announced the actress’ passing at 2:31 this morning, January 15, 2019, of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage. She was 97.
“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,” said Boll. “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 Elaine Channing was born on January 31, 1921 in Seattle, Washington. Unbeknownst to many, her paternal grandmother was African-American; the rest of her family was German. She started off modeling in Los Angeles, majored in drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont and in 1949 starred for the first time on Broadway in “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” going on to star in “Hello, Dolly!,” as well as countless films and television shows, from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” to “Hollywood Squares.” Channing was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 1995. Her autobiography, “Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts” was published in 2002 (IMDB and Wikipedia).
Tomorrow night the lights of Broadway will dim in her memory.