Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at age 97

Carol Channing legendary Broadway actress dies at 97	 	 	 			Carol Channing

Her life as a bona fide Broadway star began in 1949, when she sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from "Gentleman Prefer Blondes".

Her offstage resume was expansive, often curious and relentlessly fun.

Channing wasn't an overnight success - after college, she made a few cracks at roles on and off Broadway in NY, and entertained at Catskills resorts, before returning to her home in San Francisco at her father's request. Then came Channing, who on short notice and without rehearsal, belted out the classic show tune (of course, a show tune), When the Saints Go Marching In.

In 1964, Channing found a role equal to Lorelei Lee in Jerry Herman's "Hello Dolly", which became a Broadway classic. " she said in 2014".

After a brief time at Bennington College, Channing had small parts in "No, No, Nanette" and a Broadway failure called "I'm Simply Fraught About You", and also did a small revue.

In her book, Channing recounted an early story from her childhood that showed a budding audience-pleasing performer. No matter the part, she made it her own, including a 1985 reinterpretation of the White Queen in a made-for-TV adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. It was amusing, and at moments freaky, the stuff of children's nightmares.

"Carol Channing was one of the great icons of the American theater, and a beloved ambassador for this art form".

"Performing is the only excuse for my existence", she said during her last Broadway appearance, in the 1995 revival of "Hello, Dolly!". President Lyndon Johnson was a huge fan and liked to listen to her songs while he worked.

David Burns and Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! At opening night on January 16, 1964, when Channing appeared at the top of the stairs in a red gown with feathers in her hair and walked down the red carpet to the Harmonia Gardens restaurant, the NY audience went insane. Her son became a successful political cartoonist. "She always was famous for her timing". This, Channing later said, was the highest honor of her career. There's even a Carol Channing ventriloquist dummy. His idea was that Channing could play the maid, Sabina (who is also a vamp), while doubling as the everywoman housewife Mrs Antrobus. Channing took to the stage more than 1,000 time across a seven-decade career and only missed one performance due to illness - the second act of Dolly - after suffering food poisoning in MI.

She wowed them in an audition and was hired on the spot.

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