Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at age 97

Giulio Marcocchi  Getty Images

Giulio Marcocchi Getty Images

Legendary Broadway star Carol Channing has died, her publicist, Harlan Boll, told CNN on Tuesday.

Award-winning star Carol Channing was best known for her performances in "Hello, Dolly!" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".

And more small-screen stars we lost in 2018.

The tour of "Hello, Dolly!" said Tuesday it would honor Channing at its current stop in California. Broadway icon Carol Channing.

Although she started out in theatre starring in musicals, Channing subsequently took her talents to Hollywood. "Betty Buckley and the cast will dedicate tonight's performance in San Diego to her memory", the company of "Hello, Dolly" said in a statement.

The daughter of newspaper editor George Channing and his wife Adelaide, Channing was born in January 1921 and grew up in Seattle, Washington.

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Channing was the hit of "Lend an Ear" in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to NY.

Channing says she kept her racial identity hidden for years.

Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce - to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. In 1966 she starred in the TV special An Evening with Carol Channing, for which she received three Emmy nominations.

After a short stint at Bennington College in Vermont, she moved to NY in pursuit of stage stardom, dedicating her life to the craft.

The show was a hit in LA and transferred to NY, where she later starred in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She led the show until 1951, and even returned to to the role of Lorelei in an adaptation of the show (1974's Lorelei). She made guest appearances on many television shows including "Sesame Street", where she performed a parody of "Hello Dolly" called "Hello Sammy", a love song to the Jim Henson character Sammy the Snake. And while the film, which co-starred alongside Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, has a number of classic moments (including Channing's tune, "Jazz Baby"), it's her reading of the line "raspberries" that became a favorite among fans. She lent her voice to Family Guy, and also appeared on The Love Boat, Touched By An Angel, and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

In 2003 she married her childhood sweetheart Harry Kullijian and they were together until Kullijian's death eight years later. Channing was married four times and has one son.

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