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Carol Channing, Broadway's Beloved Dolly, Dies at 97

Playbill News

Carol Channing, the blonde, saucer-eyed Broadway musical comedy star who was associated with one role—Dolly Gallagher Levi in Jerry Herman’s Hello Dolly!—as strongly as Yul Brynner was with The King and I and Richard Kiley with Man of La Mancha, died of natural causes on January 15, 2019. Her publicist confirmed the death. She was 97.

Ms. Channing played the sweetly scheming matchmaker Dolly Levi on Broadway three times over a 30-year period—testimony to how closely audiences identified her with the role. Ms. Channing was said to have never missed a performance in Dolly during its first Broadway run beginning in 1964, and played the part countless other times over the years in a variety of national tours.

Given her outsized performance style, the actor was born for the stage. Perhaps more than any other female Broadway star of her time, she was immediately recognizable. Large circular eyes held a seemingly permanent expression of surprise, and were underlined by a wide, rectangular, toothy smile that sometimes appeared to be wider than her face. It was all framed by an unruly mop of white-blonde hair. Click here to READ MORE.