Legendary Broadway star Carol Channing has died, her publicist, Harlan Boll, told CNN on Tuesday.
She was 97.
With her raspy voice and huge smile, Channing was best known for her Tony Award-winning role as Dolly Levi in the hit Broadway musical “Hello Dolly!”
Fellow stars of the stage and screen, including “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, paid tribute to Channing on social media Tuesday.
The current touring company for “Hello Dolly!” released a statement Tuesday on the star’s death.
“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.”
The actress was born in Seattle to George Channing, a newspaper editor, and his wife, Adelaide.
She grew up in San Francisco, where her parents were devout members of the Christian Science religion and her father a popular lecturer for the church.
It was her religion that first led her to the theater. Channing and her mother would stand outside venues to distribute copies of The Christian Science Monitor.
Years later Channing also found out that her father had been harboring a secret.
He was listed as “colored” on his birth certificate because of his mother, though his father was Nordic German.
Channing told CNN’s Larry King in 2002 that she was proud of her mixed heritage.
“I was 16 years old and my mother told me,” she said. “And you know, only the reaction on me was, ‘Gee, I got the greatest genes in show business.’ ”
She is survived by her son, cartoonist Channing Carson. [CNN]